Antifreeze cat deaths: Minister rejects idea to stop poisonings

Adding bittering agent to antifreeze should be obligatory
Adding bittering agent to antifreeze should be obligatory
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

I recently wrote about a group of members of Parliament in Britain debating the possibility of making it obligatory to add a bitterant to car antifreeze and unpalatable to cats.

This is a quick follow-up posting. Unsurprisingly, but regrettably, and I say incorrectly, the British government’s environment minister George Eustice has rejected the idea.

His argument is very poor indeed and in my opinion shows a lack of understanding of the situation. He says the following:

“Ultimately, if antifreeze included a bittering agent and if that deterred animals from taking antifreeze in any circumstances, that would still not deal with the problem of people deliberately setting out to poison cats and other animals,”

I agree that if a nasty, committed person wants to poison cats he will make efforts to do it. We therefore have a duty to present barriers to these people. We have a duty to make it more difficult for these criminals to poison cats and the obvious way to do that is to make antifreeze unpalatable to cats. That would take antifreeze out of the equation.

Car antifreeze is easy to buy. It is highly palatable to cats and therefore common sense dictates we have a duty to do something about it. The presence of antifreeze facilitates the poisoning of cats. As a method of poisoning cats it is also effective from another standpoint: it is almost impossible to catch the criminal because the defence is that antifreeze will occasionally be spilled on the ground when a car owner adds it to the radiator water (note: this would only apply to older cars).

If it was obligatory for antifreeze to contain a bittering agent cat poisoners would have to find an alternative. This barrier to expressing their desire may be sufficient to put a number of them off. I believe that quite a lot of these people poison cats casually and fecklessly. Present a barrier to their activities and it may stop them.

Mr Eustice says that cat poisoners would find another weapon of choice. Yes, they would if they were committed to the process of poisoning cats but, as mentioned, a lot of them might not be sufficiently committed to find an alternative weapon of choice. Nothing is anywhere near as freely available and as efficient as antifreeze.

This explains why antifreeze poisoning is so prevalent in the United Kingdom. The member of Parliament, Mr Spencer, who instigated the debate has said that he is being inundated on Facebook and Twitter with messages from people all over the country who are experiencing similar issues.

In addition, Cats Protection state that they are aware of 1,197 reports of antifreeze poisonings since November 2012.

Further, Mr Eustice should bear in mind that when a cat dies of antifreeze poisoning he/she dies a painful and highly unpleasant death. He seems to have ignored this together with the common sense argument that making it more difficult to poison cats will prevent some of the poisonings taking place.

It is like gun crime. If guns are freely available there are more homicides.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

29 thoughts on “Antifreeze cat deaths: Minister rejects idea to stop poisonings”

  1. Well common sense fails to prevail yet again but there again as its already been said we are talking about politicians aren’t we who usually completely miss the point however in this case stupidity prevails completely. I think it was Ruth who said politicians don’t give a shit about animals well this just proves it!

  2. I’m sure it’s very easy for an animal to be accidentally poisoned at this time of year, a lot of older cars have a leak underneath from the radiator, cats like to go under cars, they also like to drink from puddles as do dogs and birds, not all antifreeze poisoning is deliberate, but sadly too much is!

    1. Thanks Babz. Of course this poster applies to accidental poisoning. There must be occasions when it does occur accidentally which is one reason why criminals can get away with deliberately poisoning.

  3. They should have pushed home the point that many young children are also poisoned when they mistake antifreeze for a soft drink. Or that it’s a common ingredient in counterfeit alcohol.

    Perhaps if they’d realised that putting a bitterant in antifreeze would save human lives as well as cats, the ruling might have been different.

    For now all we can do, is make sure we buy from Halfords (who do add bitterants) and spread the word to make sure other people do too.

    1. Nice point again. Michele. If antifreeze presents as a potential hazard to kids as well it would strengthen the case for adding bitterants. It would be hard to deny the need for change.

  4. I’m disappointed as well.
    I had a wild dream that a precendent could be set that would be followed by others (us).

    Mr. Eustice threw away a perfect opportunity to enhance his image, making him a really stupid government official in my opinion.

    Ofcourse, people intent upon poisoning will continue on that path. But, in my opinion, antifreeze is the #1 choice because it seems to be more palatable than anything else.

    It makes no sense to me not to make it disagreeable to animals.

    1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

      Nothing this government does makes sense!
      This is the latest
      ‘A leaked plan by the hunting lobby to remove pine martens from ­Scottish ­woodlands has sparked fierce opposition from wildlife groups which suspect landowners of planning a cull to protect their lucrative grouse stocks’
      and who goes grouse shooting? yes the tories, the windsors and the countryside alliance to whom all animal and bird life is there for their pleasure in murdering them.

      1. Is the grouse hunted for sport, consumption, or both? I’ve never known anyone who ate a grouse, but I know that they are in large numbers in Minnesota.

        1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

          Mainly sport, they kill so many that a lot are thrown away like rubbish!
          Bred especially, beaten out of their habitat by beaters to fly into the sky and be shot at by cold blooded rich murderers.

          1. So cruel.

            So many downers going on here.
            Need to have a light side now.
            Do you agree, R?
            Have any posters on the burner?

        2. Dee I believe they kill as many as they can, pose for a photograph with them then the beaters dig a hole and bury the victims while the toffs get in their 4 wheel drives and head to the nearest pub to buy roast chicken & chips and several whiskies apiece. It’s all in the name of sport y’know.

    2. Totally agree. It would take very little effort to amend the statute. I have a feeling (cynical feeling) that Eustice has been lobbied by manufacturers. He may even have received money.

      1. Officials are so easily bought.
        They are never scrutinized enough.
        I’d like to invent a lie detector test that not only detects a lie but, also, delivers a shock large enough to start causing organ damage when deceitful.

  5. What a blow, how stupid and short-sighted is that? But as has been said not a surprise given that this government hates all animals anyway. 🙁

  6. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    So help me God, if Woody comes on here and smirks about this I will track him down and tip anti freeze down his throat, that I vow!!!!

      1. LOL. That made me laugh. These people run the bloody country. It is no wonder we are in a mess.

        I have just come back from watching the film Mr Turner. I found it boring on the whole.

  7. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    This is devastating news! Of course cruel people would find other ways to poison cats but it wouldn’t be as easy for them as buying anti freeze which is freely available.
    Also, surely adding bitterant to save the lives of cats accidentally poisoned is reason enough to do it.
    I’m very disappointed but not surprised, as this government cares nothing about animals or birds, all they want to do is kill them and what message does that send out to animal haters? Yes that it’s OK to kill them, that their lives are not worth worrying over.

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