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Cats Protection dismayed at plans to shoot Scottish feral cats

19 April 2016
Cats Protection dismayed at plans to shoot Scottish feral cats

Cats Protection is dismayed at the news that a licence application has been approved that could see animals exposed to unnecessary suffering.

The licence application was put forward from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland as part of the £2million Scottish Wildcat Action Plan and was approved by Scottish National Heritage.

The application states: “Any individuals which are obviously feral domestic cats will be dispatched according to standard predator control practices by the land manager, with appropriate firearm in one shot with minimal time to death.”

Dominic Sullivan, Cats Protection Director of Legal Services said: “Under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, feral cats are regarded as ‘protected animals’ and it is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to them. As the UK’s leading feline welfare charity we are obviously opposed to the destruction of feral cats and would always advocate a humane trap, neuter and return approach to this issue.

“For this reason, we declined to be part of the Scottish Wildlife Conservation Action Group (SWCAG), which was established by Scottish National Heritage, and again when the group published its ‘Scottish Wildcat Conservation Action Plan’. While the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland is at pains in the application to explain that feral cats will be ‘dispatched’ without causing unnecessary suffering, ultimately it would be for the courts to decide whether or not any suffering was unnecessary in the circumstances of each use.

“A further concern for us is the risk that family pets may be mistaken for feral cats and ‘dispatched’, causing obvious distress to the owners and the possibility of an offence of criminal damage under Scottish law.”

For further information, please contact Cats Protection’s Media Office on 01825 741 911 or email media.office@cats.org.uk