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Cats Protection urges Westminster candidates to back five-year feline welfare agenda ahead of General Election

17 May 2017
Cats Protection urges Westminster candidates to back five-year feline welfare agenda ahead of General Election
The UK’s largest cat charity has launched its Agenda for Cats to urge candidates in next month’s General Election to back measures to improve the lives of the nation’s cats.
Cats Protection’s 10-point plan calls on politicians from all parties to support measures to protect cats from abandonment, harm and neglect if they are elected.
The 2022 Agenda highlights issues which the charity wants to see tackled during the next parliament, including bringing in compulsory microchipping of cats, making animal welfare part of the National Curriculum, banning snares, strengthening  measures to prevent dog attacks on cats and introducing licensing of air guns in England and Wales. 
Cats Protection’s Advocacy and Government Relations Manager Jacqui Cuff said: “Nearly a quarter of UK households own a cat, with an estimated population of 11 million cats, and their welfare will be of great importance to many voters. We are calling for modern legislation to better protect cats from harm and ensure their welfare. 
“Cats are not political – they come in all colours of black, white, ginger and many more – yet politicians from all parties can improve their lives immeasurably by tackling some of our 2022 Agenda priorities.”
The charity is also looking to future MPs to help promote responsible cat ownership and tackle the issue of owners being forced to give up cats because their landlord, social housing provider or care home does not allow pets
Jacqui added: “We are asking for politicians to back actions which will give better protection to people, including the significant proportion of our society who live in tenanted, social or care home accommodation.
“It is not right that they should be deprived of having the companionship, love and affection that a cat can bring to a household. We’re hoping that during the next parliament, politicians will do more to protect owners who are all too often forced to give up much-loved pets. Every cat given to us for housing related reasons is a tragedy and means yet more cats added to the thousands already in our care and needing a home.”
 Among the measures the charity wants to see tackled during the next five years at Westminster are:
  • An outright ban on the use of snares, which frequently cause extreme pain, suffering and death to animals caught in them. 
  • Licensing of air guns and crossbows in England and Wales – similar to existing legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland – to prevent cats becoming victims of attacks. In 2016, Cats Protection recorded 202 press reports of cats being shot with air guns – 90% of which were in England and Wales. 
  • More widespread community policing initiatives, such as the Local Environmental Awareness of Dogs (LEAD) initiative run by the Metropolitan Police to prevent dog attacks on cats due to irresponsible dog ownership. LEAD works to issue warnings and advice on controlling dogs in cases where dogs are not properly controlled and/or there is anti-social behaviour involving dogs.
  • Compulsory microchipping of cats, so that lost or stray cats can be identified, reunited with their owners or informed in the sad event of their cat being the victim of a road traffic accident. Permanent identification of cats by microchipping is already required in France and Belgium and certain regions of Spain. Figures from Cats Protection’s 34 centres between 1 April 2016 and 1 April 2017 show that 60% of stray and unwanted cats that come into their care are not microchipped.
Jacqui added: “Ahead of the last General Election in 2015, we launched our Manifesto for Cats, and while we’re encouraged that there has been some action on dealing with the unscrupulous trade in sick and underage kittens, the fact remains that cats are still suffering because of inadequate legal protection and action to prevent them from harm. Our future MPs can do much to help, both at Westminster and in their local constituencies.”
Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, helping around 190,000 cats every year through a network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres. 
Cats Protection will be writing to all candidates to ask them to pledge support for their 10-point Agenda. Cat lovers can join in by also writing to candidates in their area to ask them for support. To find out how to write to your local candidates and to view a full version of Cats Protection’s Agenda 2022, please visit www.cats.org.uk/2022agenda
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For more information, an interview, a copy of the full Agenda or a photo, please contact Michaela at Adastra Media by emailing michaela@adastramedia.co.uk or call 07740 305918.
Notes to Editors: 
  1. Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps around 190,000 cats and kittens each year through its national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres
  2. Cats Protection’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.
  3. 24% of households own a cat. Pet population figures from The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report 2016
  4. Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland). Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity in all published material.
  5. More information about the work of Cats Protection can be found at www.cats.org.uk