Julia Elliot discusses the English love of pets.
A recent survey in the United States showed that the average family there spent more money on its pets than on its children. This  is a rather shocking statistic. It is possible that Americans are unique in caring for their pets, but the information we have would suggest  that the English too do their best to take good care of their pets.

This can clearly be seen when we look at pet foods, which often contain more vitamins than human food. They certainly cost as much. Last year the British public spent two hundred million pounds  on pet food alone.

It is difficult not to feel sad about this when one  thinks what the same amount of money could do for poor or old people, especially when I read about another old person who has left all his/her money to a dog or cat home.

There are a variety of reasons why I, personally, find the popularity of British pets alarming. First of all, they cause physical  problems. An example of this is London, where there is great difficulty in getting rid of the mess that dogs leave on the streets.

Many people find this funny, but in a number of large cities it is a major problem. Animals can cause disease, too. It is the threat of rabies – a  disease with no known cure – that has made the English government  take some measures by restricting animals coming into the United Kingdom.

Another problem is the carelessness of some pet owners. Most little children want a dog or cat. It is only when the ‘sweet little  thing’ has been brought home that parents realize how much time  and money must be spent on ‘Bonzo’ or ‘Bulky’.

Therefore, many of these owners abandon their pets. Pets which are allowed to run free are not sweet at all. English farmers lose hundreds of sheep a year, killed by someone’s pet.  You may think that I dislike all pets, but this is not true at all. We 6 are a nation of pet-lovers. Wouldn’t it be betiü to be lovers of human beings?


A. What do the following refer to?
1. ‘its’ (line 2):
2. They’ (line 7):
3. ‘this’ (line 9):
4. ‘they’ (line 14):
5. ‘if (line 17):

B. Find words in the text which mean the following:
1. scientifically collected fact or figure (paragraph 1):
2. being the only one of a kind (paragraph 1):
3. giving a warning or a feeling of danger (paragraph 3):
4. keeping within limits (paragraph 4):

C. Mark the statements as True (T) or False (F).

1. Most American families seem to pay more for the expenses of their pets than those of their children.

2. The writer says that old people always leave their money to homes for pets when they die.

3. Parents never let their children abandon their pets.

1. How does Julia Elliott think money spent on pets could be better used?
2. What are the two reasons the writer gives for being alarmed at the popularity of British pets? a) : b) :

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