Cats Protection (CP), the well-known cat rescue organisation, would like the political parties to adopt its 10 point cat welfare manifesto in the lead up to the next general election on Thursday 7 May 2015.
CP are launching their manifesto at a House of Commons reception in February. More than 30 MPs, who are cat guardians, will be present, we are told.
The CP advovacy manager, Jacqui Cuff, believes that the changes they suggest will help sway voters as we are a nation of animal lovers.
The manifesto includes the following points:
Compulsory microchipping of cats that have a caretaker/guardian. Comment: The general trend in the West is towards better controls of cat ownership so this simply proposal should be very acceptable.
The Dangerous Dogs Act should be amended so that dog owners whose dogs attack cats can be prosecuted. This appears to be an overlap with another recently introduced law.
Education – to include the subject of animal welfare in the schools’ National Curriculum. I like this. There is always a need to improve the standards of animal welfare and the starting point is always education. What better group of people to educate than children.
Safety – to better protect the domestic cat at home by introducing clearer labelling of products, plants and flowers when they are toxic to cats. The home can be quite hazardous to cats unbeknownst to many cat owners. I would have thought the required legislation could be introduced as a statutory instrument which would not require a House of Commons vote. A second proposal is to introduce legislation to ban snares. Free-roaming cats are sometimes killed in snares.
Air Guns – in the UK, if a person wants to have fun and hurt a cat they often do it with an air rifle. Over the year there are many examples of outdoor cats being the victims of abuse and cruelty at the hands of (I suspect) young men with their air rifles.
Apparently 9% of Brits might regard themselves as animal rights campaigners, a figure sizeable enough to have an impact on the election result. The CP manifesto should appeal to them. Also there are 6.4 million households in the UK where you’ll find a companion animal.
However, there will be many politicians and political observers, primarily Tories, who see no reason to introduce animal welfare into the general election campaign. This is because, frankly, campaigning on behalf of animal welfare will be seen as prioritizing what politicians see as a secondary matter to the main issues.
CP conducted a major consultation before deciding on the content of their manifesto.
Jacqui believes that the proposals “will not only benefit cats, but also society as a whole.” I agree with her.
These are not grand pie-in-the-sky proposals. They are sensible and I’d have thought quite easy to implement. Let’s hope a party adopts them.
Source: The Independent newspaper.