The RSPCA has revealed how people in the North East view animals, as it launches its For Every Kind campaign.

While 92 per cent believed dogs are capable of positive emotions, only 32 per cent agreed for rats, according to a poll.

People were more likely to feel that pets deserved a healthy and happy life; with dogs and rabbits achieving 98 per cent and 95 per cent, respectively, compared to rats in labs earning 71 per cent.

Only 26 per cent would mourn the absence of pigs, compared to 83 per cent for dogs.

Chris Sherwood, chief executive of the RSPCA, said: "This year marks our 200th anniversary - that means 200 years of changing laws, attitudes and behaviours towards animals.

"But animals are now facing some of the biggest threats in our history, from climate change to intensive farming, from the cost of living to the effects of the pandemic.

"Unless we act urgently, we risk animals’ lives getting worse, not better."