Five ways to help stop cruelty to animals

Meet the charities working hard to protect Britain's animals

Top 10 Ways to Help Endangered Species

Britain is a nation of animal lovers, and when it comes to animal cruelty most people want to do everything they can to stop the suffering of animals, and see those responsible prosecuted. Whether it's birds, badgers or donkeys, many charities do exceptional work - and wouldn't be able to make a difference to animal's lives without your ongoing support.

See also: Probe launched into fox hunting group amid animal cruelty allegations

See also: Exotic animals, like lions, zebras and wolves kept on private property in UK

1. The Badger Trust
Badgers and their setts are protected from intentional cruelty by law, but it's a sad fact that many thousands of badgers are still killed each year - and because of the nature of the crimes, there are relatively few successful prosecutions.

The Badger Trust works hard to protect badgers from illegal threats, such as badger-digging, baiting, snaring, poisoning, and sett interference. You can help to protect and conserve badgers and their natural habitats by joining the trust, making a donation and fundraising.

2. Retired Greyhound Trust
Every year, thousands of ex-racing greyhounds "disappear" in the UK. A 2014 Panorama investigation revealed that around 8,000 Greyhounds are retired from the sport each year. The Retired Greyhound Trust rehomes about 4,000 of the dogs each year and other charities 1,500 - but around 2,500 Greyhounds are believed to be killed when they are retired at the age of four.

You can help the Retired Greyhound Trust continue their work by raising funds, volunteering or re-homing a dog yourself. Despite their reputation as formidable athletes, greyhounds don't need a great deal of exercise and most are content with two short walks a day. Greyhounds are placid animals and the breed is known for being good with children, so make great family pets.

3. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
The RSPB works tirelessly to protect Britain's birds and the areas they inhabit, and actively campaigns to end cruelty to different species. For over 100 years, they have been campaigning on behalf of birds of prey, which despite legal protection, are persecuted and killed in their hundreds every year.

Founded in 1889, the bird charity relies on donations from members of the public. You can help support their work by becoming a member for just £4.00 a month (and receive unlimited entry to more than 170 UK nature reserves, a magazine every quarter, a member's pack and free gift). You can also buy products from the RSPB's online shop. Whether it's bird food, binoculars, nestboxes, DVDs or gifts, every purchase helps.

4. The Donkey Sanctuary
Millions of donkeys and mules are mistreated and cruelly overworked in countries around the world. The Donkey Sanctuary works hard to transform the quality of life for donkeys and mules in the UK and 35 other countries worldwide.

As well as providing vital veterinary care and community training to make life better for sick, unwanted and hard-working donkeys, they rehome donkeys and provide donkey assisted therapy for children and adults with additional needs and therapeutic visits to care homes in the local community.

In 2015, the charity helped 1.6 million donkeys and mules, and directly treated almost a quarter of a million of the animals. With your continued support and donations, The Donkey Sanctuary aims to double their reach to two million donkeys in 40 countries by 2018.

5. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)
The RSPCA is the oldest animal welfare charity around (at nearly 200 years old), and works hard to ensure that all animals can live a life free from pain and suffering. Though best known for their work rescuing Britain's pets thanks to popular TV shows, the RSPCA protects and campaigns for the rights of farm animals, laboratory animals and wild animals.

The charity is also committed to stamping out large-scale serious, organised and commercial animal cruelty, as well as lobbying for changes in the law to give animals better protection.

The RSPCA relies on the continuing support of animal lovers. You can help by donating and can get involved by adding your voice to their campaigns, volunteering and helping to fundraise.