The UK has introduced a new law to ban “crossing” cats as a way to tackle the increasing number of stray cats in the country.
The Animal Welfare Act 2016 is designed to “eliminate any form of animal abuse or neglect” and “protect the welfare of cats”.
The bill was approved by Parliament on Thursday and will go before the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government for final approval in April.
A new law banning “cross-border” or “crossbreeding” cat ownership has been proposed.
Cat owner and cat lover Mark Stowe, who lives in Oxfordshire, told the BBC he believed the new law was necessary as the country had a “cat problem”.
“You’re looking at hundreds of thousands of cats in shelters every year, it’s a very dangerous situation,” he said.
“There are people who are just completely reckless about their own cats, so it’s not a good situation.”‘
It’s not an easy problem’The new law, which has already been passed in the UK, will apply to cats that are “unfit for domestic use”, as defined by the Animal Welfare Council (AWC).
“We have seen a number of reports of cats coming across the border into the UK from overseas, but most recently there has been a rise in the number of cats crossing into the country,” AWC national director Sue Williams told the Daily Mail.
“We don’t know how many cats have crossed into the United Kingdom, but the AWC is working with the Home Office to see if there is any way we can help,” she added.
Ms Williams said the AWCs policy was to have cats in kennels but cats could be adopted from the wild.
“It’s an easy one, they’re not too bad.
They’re not very fussy, and they’re happy to get out and run around,” she said.
Mr Stowe said the cat-ownership ban was “probably the most sensible thing to do”.
“I feel a bit sorry for people who don’t want to have pets, but I think if we’re going to do it, it needs to be something that works for the cats,” he told the programme.
“They don’t get enough love and attention from people in their life, so I don’t think it’s really a very good solution.”‘
The idea is not very well thought out’The AWC said it would be up to the Home Secretary to decide if the legislation would be deemed an emergency and the cats should be put down.
“This legislation is not designed to tackle stray cats,” a spokesperson for the AWCC told the newspaper.
“If we are to get the cat legislation right, it would need to be tested on a large scale and the Home Department would need a full review to see how it will work.”
The AWCs new cat policy is not without critics.
“It’s a bit of a confusing bill,” Dr Lisa McVey, who chairs the AWAC, told The Independent.
“I don’t quite know how to interpret it, and I don’st quite know what the implications are, so we’ll see what happens.”‘
You just don’t understand how it works’One animal welfare expert who has worked with stray cats for more than 20 years, Dr Lisa MacVey from the University of Oxford, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “we’re not doing anything about stray cats at the moment.”
“I think it is just not a realistic approach to have an animal welfare policy,” she told Today.
“When you’re trying to work out how to reduce animal cruelty and cruelty to cats, and that’s an issue that’s been around for a very long time, and this is just a bit more of a novelty,” she continued.
“So I think that it’s just going to be a bit different.
It’s just not going to work.”
Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @rebeccagolReport a typo