Give cats the protections they deserve
Cats are wonderful animals and provide much love, support and companionship. It is sad they do not have the same rights as their canine counterparts, writes Maria Caulfield
I have always believed that we are a nation of animal lovers. But since becoming a Member of Parliament, this has very much been confirmed to me. I don’t think that any other subject fills my inbox as much as various animal welfare issues.
When I found out that there was not already an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats (APPGOCATS), I was very keen to be involved in setting one up. There are many feline-related welfare issues to be tackled. It was a pleasure to have been elected as Chairman of the APPGOCATS, which will enable me to highlight the importance that cats have in many people’s lives.
Cats are wonderful animals and provide much love, support and companionship to a wide range of people, from young families to elderly people living on their own.
Some of the many issues that we will be looking at include toxins contained in antifreeze, laws on air guns, as well as highlighting the benefits of owning a cat to combat loneliness. Sadly, cats also do not have the same rights as dogs in road traffic accidents, with drivers legally allowed to drive on without reporting the incident, unlike with their canine counterparts.
As one of the nation’s most cherished animals, owned and loved by millions of diverse people, it is sad they currently do not have the same protections as dogs.
I am delighted that APPGOCATS has the support of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and Cats Protection, two of the country’s best-known animal charities who are experts in animal welfare. By working collaboratively, these charities will be able to keep the group informed of the most up to date and valuable information on cat welfare issues. To campaign for change we need to be informed and with the backing of these great charities we certainly will be.
We had a lively inaugural meeting and drop in event in Westminster earlier this month where dozens of MPs and peers came to show their support for group and for cat welfare issues.
I hope that many other Parliamentarians will join APPGOCATs going forward, if not for the feline welfare issues, then for the positive effect and the companionship that cats bring to many millions of people, helping to end the loneliness epidemic. As Chairman of APPGOCATS I hope to be able to share my love of cats with others to improve feline welfare across the country.
Maria Caulfield is MP for Lewes, Conservative vice chair for women, and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cats
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