The true cost of Kittens campaign - Thank you and update
For those of you that recently signed one of our postcards, regarding the "True cost of Kittens" campaign, during Spring 2017, we promised to update you on the campaign to strengthen legal protecetion where kittens are bred and sold commercially. We campaigned for a new licensing scheme that would prohibit commercial sales of kittens under eight weeks of age; close legal loopholes that allow repear commercial breeding without licence and clarify when there is a commercial business activity requiring a licence.
We;;, we have some good news - we did it! Cats Protection are now working with Government on the detail of new regulations on licensing of animal activities, expected to become legislatin in 2018.
How you helped
This major campaign sought widespread public support through a campaign video, webpage and online letter. Supporters could complete the letter online which was then dispatched directly to their MPs inbox. Cats Protection also enlisted the support of everyone they could including their branch network of 9,800 volunteers, existing supports, shops and adoption centres, those visiting CP show stands and events. They also contacted over 4,000 vet practices who helped return campaign postcards and we put out regular messages on our Facebook and Twitter pages and many of the charities that we work alongside, such as Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross and PDSA helped promote the campaign to.
Taking your campaign postcards up to London
We know that not everyone has internet access so part of the campaign involved campaign postcards addressed directly to the Minister. Cats Protection sent campaign postcards out car and wide and again your response was amazing. We had over 7,000 signes cards back and the Advocacy team delivered over 7,000 replica cards by hand to the Minister at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in central London just before Christmas. Personal details were removed from the cards to comply with Data Protection.
Government's next steps
in February 2017 DEDA published a document The review of animal establishment licensing in England - Next Steps. We were delighted to see the proposal to introduce licence conditions that will prhibit commercial sales ofd kittens (and puppies0 at too young an age, stated as less than eight weeks old. Eight weeks is the minimum age at which the new law will allow the commercial sale of a kitten under licence. We know that many breeders, particularly those that breed pedigree cats (10% of cats are estimated to be pedigree) go beyong this and don't relinquish kittens until they are at least 13 weeks old and fully vaccinated.
Once these reguilations are in place, anyone selling kittens as a business will need to apply for an animal activities lience which will bring with it safeguards for cat welfare through licence conditions. We know that many breeders that sell pedigree cats etc, particularly those registered with breed associations like GCCF, operate to high welfare standards. We hope that the new regulations will ensure good welfare across the board, particularly for the majority of sales which are of non-pedigree cats and kittens