THERE are more pets than people in Australia and the Ravenscroft family of Yandina is doing its bit for the statistics. The Ravenscrofts' menagerie includes 10 horses, a new foal, an 800kg Brahman steer named Webcke, two cats, three dogs, chooks, and last, but not least, a miniature pig called Poppy-Lou.
Son Toby, 14, added to the family's collection during the past six months with a blue-tongue lizard and a bearded dragon. The animal assortment puts the family firmly within the 63 per cent of Australian households that own pets, according to statistics from the Australian Companion Animal Council.
With more than 38 million pets of varying species, Australia has one of the highest pet-ownership rates in the world.
The council's figures show that 18% of households own dogs, while the number of cat-owning households declined from 12% to 11% in the two years between 2005 and 2007.Andree Ravenscroft said she grew up with animals and could not imagine not having pets.One of her most recent additions, Poppy-Lou, had been a childhood dream, probably inspired by the movie, Charlotte's Webb.
She said the three-month-old piglet, whose previous owner had been unable to keep her, was just like a dog.
“When I go around in the afternoon to feed the horses, she runs behind the bike like she's a dog. She spends all day playing with the mini foxie,” Mrs Ravenscroft said.
Mrs Ravenscroft, who operates Yandina Feed Barn with her husband Lyle, said there were plenty of other pet-mad people on the Sunshine Coast.
“Even with the economic downturn, people are still buying the best dog food and cat food,” she said.
Pets often occupied the place of family members in people's lives, Mrs Ravenscroft said.
“To some people that don't have children, they're just like children,” she said.