Meghan Markle's Mayhew animal charity 'in jeopardy' amid strike threat

The Duchess of Sussex meets Foxy during a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity she supports as patron

The Duchess of Sussex meets Foxy during a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity she supports as patron, at its offices in north-west London. - Credit: PA

The future of an animal welfare charity which boasts the Duchess of Sussex as its patron could be "in jeopardy" as staff threaten to go on strike.

The Mayhew charity rehomes dogs and cats, and runs an animal clinic in Trenmar Gardens, Kensal Green.

A spokesperson said it has undergone a restructure to "balance its service provision against a challenging financial outlook", meaning staff numbers have been slashed in order to make savings.

Union members say staffing levels at the charity - which dates back to 1886 - have "dropped drastically".

A workforce of 58 has dwindled to 49, and those who remain are now deciding whether to take industrial action over a pay and recruitment freeze.

Meghan was photographed cuddling some of the pets at Mayhew in January last year, in a visit which saw her meet staff, volunteers and beneficiaries.

The Duchess of Sussex meets Wully Struthers and his staffies Azzy and Gallis during a visit to Mayhew

The Duchess of Sussex meets Wully Struthers and his staffies Azzy and Gallis during a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity she supports as patron, at its offices in north-west London - Credit: PA

The Duchess of Sussex meets Maggi a Jack Russell during a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity

The Duchess of Sussex meets Maggi a Jack Russell during a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity she supports as patron, at its offices in north-west London - Credit: PA

Some of the charity's veterinary services have now been "curtailed temporarily", although they are still triaging the animals that "most need help" alongside taking referrals to neuter cats and dogs.

Suzanna Hudson-Cooke, branch chair of British Veterinary Union (BVU) in Unite, urged the charity’s trustees not to cut jobs because it would "increase the workload for the remaining employees who are already struggling, and reduce their ability to advocate to the best of their ability for the animals in their care".

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She added: “Those who work in the veterinary and animal welfare sectors care deeply about the animals they work with every day, and are at a high risk of compassion fatigue."

A spokesperson from Mayhew said the restructure had been necessary for the charity to "live within its means".

“Our staff, volunteers and beneficiaries are at the heart of everything we do and as a much loved and respected charity we couldn’t do what we do without them," they added. 

"However, any staff strike action would significantly affect the charity’s ability to care and treat the sick animals under our guardianship as well as putting Mayhew’s future in jeopardy.

“We would certainly welcome dialogue with the Union in order to resolve these issues as we all want a positive outcome.”

The Duchess of Sussex meets a Jack Russell called Minnie during a visit to Mayhew

The Duchess of Sussex meets a Jack Russell called Minnie during a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity she supports as patron, at its offices in north-west London - Credit: PA

The Times contacted Meghan through the Archewell Foundation but has had no response. 

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