The UK Leads The Way With ‘Cat Manifesto’
In the UK, cat protection is a serious business.
So serious, in fact, that it could have an impact upon who is the next resident of number 10 Downing Street.
The country’s animal lovers are being asked to take part in a major consultation by the Cats Protection charity as it prepares its 'Cat Manifesto' ahead of next year's general election.
The charity has released a list of 10 proposed manifesto priorities that, if delivered, would make a huge impact on the lives of the nation's eight million pet cats and an estimated two million strays and ferals.
The proposed manifesto includes updating the law to control the breeding and sale of cats, changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act to allow prosecution of owners whose dogs attack, injure or kill cats, and the inclusion of animal welfare in the school system's National Curriculum so that all children learn about responsible pet care.
Mariposa Veterinary Wellness Center in Lenexa
The charity - which helps around 218,000 cats every year - is now asking pet owners, veterinary professionals and animal lovers to contribute their views in a public consultation.
Cats Protection's advocacy manager, Jacqui Cuff, said the charity would use the findings to draw up a final manifesto for cats in the autumn to ensure greater recognition of feline welfare by our next government.
"It’s our job to 'speak up for cats' and use our position, expertise and the views of all our supporters and volunteers to improve the lives of the nation's cats,” she said. “The manifesto we're drawing up calls for measures which will not only benefit cats, but also society as a whole.
"We're proposing updating the law on how kittens are bred and sold to reduce the number of unwanted cats, and changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act to allow owners to be prosecuted if their dog is out of control and attacks, injures or kills a cat. We have thousands of cats in our care from unwanted litters that we are trying to find homes for and thousands more we just don't have capacity to help. Sadly we also regularly hear from distraught cat owners whose cat has been attacked, usually killed, by a dog and often no action is taken by the authorities. Updated legislation on these two issues alone would contribute to a more responsible society.
"Another priority for us is to end snaring, an inhumane practice which should play no part in a modern, caring nation. Snares cause unimaginable pain and suffering to the many animals which are caught and ultimately killed in them, including cats.”
The charity is also asking that the positive effect pet cats have on health and wellbeing of vulnerable people is fully recognised when new laws come into force on personal care.
"And we are also suggesting the future government gives proper recognition to the needs of people with cats or other companion animals in rented housing and care homes to allow people to keep their pets,” concluded Cuff. “For an owner to give up their cat when they move into rented housing or a care home is a tragedy for the cat and its owner."
Here are the charity’s 10 manifesto priorities, in no particular order:
1. Updating the law to control the breeding and sale of cats to reduce the number of unwanted kittens.
2. Making it compulsory to microchip owned cats.
3. Creating a national database to ensure that a central record is kept of all cats entering the UK legally so those entering illegally without a rabies vaccine can be identified without delay.
4. Updating the Dangerous Dogs Act to allow prosecution of dog owners whose dogs attack, injure or kill cats.
5. Inclusion of animal welfare in the National Curriculum so all children learn about responsible pet care.
6. Government recognition of the needs of people with cats or other companion animals in rented housing and care homes to allow people to keep their pets.
7. Government recognition of the benefits which cats and other companion animals bring to health and personal wellbeing when an individual’s care needs are assessed.
8. Clear labelling of flowers, plants and household products that are toxic to cats so cat owners know which to avoid.
9. An outright ban on the use of snares on the basis they are inhumane and cruel and inflict suffering, injury or death on animals caught in them.
10. Much stricter regulation on the ownership of air guns and crossbows to prevent injury or death to cats shot by such weapons.
People have until the autumn to view and contribute to the Cats Protection's manifesto proposals. To take part, visit www.cats.org.uk/manifesto.