The RSPCA is conducting an awareness campaign about the forthcoming Animal Welfare Act which comes into effect in the second quarter of 2007. The charity aims to encourage the public to 'Know Your Pet' and has commissioned Lateral to develop a totally new version of the RSPCA Cyberpet together with a Cyberpet microsite at http://www.rspca-cyberpet.co.uk

'We want to reach both children and adults and a Cyberpet is an
excellent way to highlight the responsibilities required especially
for children who pester their parents for a pet." Said Justine
Pannett, Project Manager- RSPCA Campaigns

The first species - an RSPCA Cyberpet Dog - will be available to
download to a desktop from 20th December and will be a perfect
Christmas present from parents whose children are hounding them for the real thing.

The Cyberpet will need to be looked after in the same way as a real pet, providing a virtual pet owning experience, while educating
children about the responsibility involved. This includes taking it
for a walk and feeding it each day, making sure it's healthy and has
a warm comfortable bed to sleep in.

They can also send information to friends and invite them to download a Cyberpet.

Users will also be able to determine whether their circumstances are
appropriate for them to own a pet in the real world, whilst learning
about the welfare requirements for different types of animals from
dogs and cats to fish, parrots, tortoises and terrapins.

An RSPCA Cyberpet Cat will be introduced in the New Year with Lateral developing other species of RSPCA Cyberpet that will be added throughout 2007.

"The Cyberpet has two main objectives, to be educational and to be
fun, interactive and involving - we feel we've achieved both." Said
Jon Bains, Chairman at Lateral.

Under the Animal Welfare Act pet owners will have a legal
responsibility to meet the welfare needs of their pets. Pets' welfare
needs include: a proper diet (including water); somewhere suitable to
live; any need to be housed with; or apart from, other animals,
allowing animals to express normal behaviour; and protection from
pain, suffering, injury and disease.

"The new law will place a 'duty of care' on pet owners to ensure they
look after their pet in the most appropriate way. By interacting with
the Cyberpet we hope to reach a wide target audience who can then
make an informed decision about whether to have a pet while enjoying the digital experience." Continued Justine.

The RSPCA will be promoting the Cyberpet on their website and to
their extensive, opt-in, database.

For further information on Lateral please contact:
Karen Durham-Diggins
T: 020 8989 2541
E: kdd@easynet.co.uk
M: 07808 584 624

For RSPCA queries please contact the RSPCA Press Office on 0870
7540244/288

Editors Notes:
Lateral http://www.lateral.net
Lateral, is a small, but perfectly formed, independent digital
communications agency, that packs a punch with heavy weight clients.

UK based Lateral, established in June 1997, has evolved into a unique
consultancy that focuses on providing their clients with creative
strategies and then executing them, using a support network of
symbiotic business partnerships with specialist companies and their
own network of companies.

Their pioneering expertise and professional approach has attracted
recognition both within the new media industry, having been awarded
several times for their work, as well as the consumer market as can
be seen by their client list which includes: Levi's(r) Europe, Faber
and Faber, Nintendo, Five and RSPCA.

Published on: 12:00AM on 20th December 2006