Penrith and The Border MP, Dr Neil Hudson, who is the only sitting vet in the House of Commons and an Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee member; lent his expertise to a reception hosted by the UK’s largest cat charity as they raised awareness for feline welfare issues.
The event, held at the House of Commons, was a chance to discuss ways to improve the lives of cats and their owners, from cat microchipping to enabling more people in rented housing to own pet cats.
A strong and consistent voice for animal welfare in Westminster, Dr Hudson has recently been joined by Parliamentarians of all political persuasions in his campaigning to bring the Government's Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill back before Parliament. The Bill has stalled as it moves through the legislative process but, if made into law, it would bring sweeping reform to a range of animal welfare issues such as stamping out puppy smuggling, tackling the scourge of pet theft and banning the keeping of primates as pets.
Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, said:
"Thank you to Cats Protection for hosting this important event, raising awareness of the myriad animal welfare issues still facing cats in our society today. I hope in Parliament we can all take note and make sure the UK remains a beacon of animal welfare advocacy to the rest of the world.
"Speaking with cat welfare experts brought home to me just how urgently we need to bring back the Kept Animals Bill before Parliament. Not just for our feline friends but animals of all shapes and sizes that need the law to be brought into the 21st Century."
Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy, Campaigns and Government Relations Madison Rogers added:
“We were delighted to host our reception in the House of Commons to discuss cat welfare, which is an important issue for many people across the UK. We were able to discuss a wide range of issues, from the breeding of cats to compulsory microchipping of pet cats.
“With 11 million pet cats in the UK, cats are undoubtedly one of the UK’s most popular pets, so it is great to see so many politicians taking an interest in feline welfare.”
In a recent Parliamentary debate on the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, Dr Neil Hudson told MPs:
"As hon. Members have said, we should not forget about cats. Heavily pregnant cats are being smuggled, and some people outside this country mutilate cats. I am talking about declawing, which is actually just chopping the claws off. That is illegal in this country, but it is still legal to import cats that have been horrifically declawed."
As well as discussing the issues faced by cats and cat owners, the reception was an opportunity to find out about volunteering opportunities the charity has available across the UK. Roles can be found online here: https://www.cats.org.uk/support-us/volunteeropportunities
Cats Protection, the UK's leading feline welfare charity, has helped an average of 166,000 cats and kittens a year over the last five years through its national network which includes around 210 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres.