Campaigning at the local level has so far seen 59 councils successfully adopt a scanning procedure. Now, thousands of cats over the coming years can be reunited with the owner who can receive some closure. At the national level we work with Government departments to make scanning a mandatory requirement. Our most recent victory was the unanimous agreement to a motion by the London Assembly which resulted in all new Transport For London contracts to include the scanning of cats found.
We are also currently working with the Veterinary Tissue Bank, and trials are currently being set up which will see deceased cats donated to save the lives of road accident survivors.
Our 'Best Practice for the Handling of Deceased Cats' guide is currently being worked on jointly by DEFRA and the Local Government Department, to be introduced as official Government guidance for councils.
Donations made to this campaign will also ensure we are in a position to offer councils the scanners and equipment where required.
MAKING IT ILLEGAL TO LEAVE THE SCENE
Following a successful meeting with the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Sue Hayman MP, our draft law proposal was confirmed in the Labour Animal Welfare Manifesto in 2018. Shortly after, we also began working with Rehman Chishti MP on the Cats Bill. This Bill resulted in the Government pursuing the compulsory microchipping of cats, and internally reviewing our reportable road traffic accidents (RTA) involving cats proposals. Our proposals include how reportable RTAs could be introduced and enforced, and ministers remain impressed by our alternative proposals.
Talks began in June 2019, and continue with DEFRA officials to this day. For reportable RTAs involving cats to be as successful as it possibly can be, it was agreed there first needs to be a mechanism in place to ensure cats are identifiable. For this reason, the government is first introducing the mandatory microchipping of cats with intent to revisit RTAs with us following it's roll out.
Our main focus has, and always will be, ensuring it becomes illegal to leave the scene of a collision involving a cat in the UK, and CatsMatter are focused and determined to see legislation in place.
CatsMatter in Wales
The #CatsMatter campaign appeared at the Welsh Assembly after being invited by AMs following a successful campaign aiming to make it mandatory that Welsh council’s scan cats found and notify the owners. CatsMatter ensured the remaining 7 councils in Wales, who did not have a scanning policy in place, all began scanning domestic pets collected. Our long battle resulted in Wales becoming the first all-scanning nation in the world! We have also contributed to the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Cats.
Our work on the Cats Bill began in 2018. It was this Bill which led to the government including the microchipping of cats in the manifesto, resulting in the call for evidence in October 2019. We teamed up with multiple organisations from vets and councils, to other charities and microchip databases. Our aim of doing so was to collate evidence from every angle, and this resulted in the wealth of information we submitted in an 11,000 word supporting document. Both before and after submission, we were invited for meetings with members of DEFRA's Animal Welfare Division to discuss the Cats Bill's aims, as well as our findings in more detail. Since this, we have had the fantastic opportunity to take part in DEFRA held stakeholder meetings with the legislation researchers to discuss our ideas and proposals in more depth. The team is currently undertaking further research for the detail of the legislation, and we eagerly await it coming into force in the near future.
To read the full journey of the legislation, see HERE.
CatsMatter in Scotland
CatsMatter were invited to Parliament in January 2018 to meet with members of the Cross Party Group on Animal Welfare in the Scottish Parliament. We worked with MSPs on the issue of councils scanning deceased pets, which successfully resulted in all Scottish councils opting for a scanning approach. Before CatsMatter began campaigning, 15 Local Authorities in Scotland did not scan cats found, or notify owners. We have brought that number down to 0 making Scotland the 2nd all-scanning country in the UK!
We're also working with MSPs to make Scotland's roads safer for all animals, and on ways to implement a requirement drivers must stop if they collide with a cat.
Given animal welfare is a devolved issue in Scotland, we petitioned the Scottish government to implement their own reportable RTA legislation, as well as introduce mandatory microchipping. Our recently closed petition was debated, and we have since entered discussions with the Department for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform on the potential introduction of mandatory microchipping of cats.
CATSMATTER IN NORTHERN IRELAND
We have previously been in talks with the UUP, who are the only party in Northern Ireland to have an animal welfare manifesto, and they have agreed to look into the inclusion of reportable RTAs when writing the next manifesto.
Previous Stormont disruption unfortunately held back significant progress, however we continued to lobby local authorities. Before campaigning, 4 councils in NI did not scan cats found roadside. We have brought this number down to 0. All councils in Northern Ireland now have some form of system in place. We also liaised with the Department for Infrastructure who, following review at our request, agreed to implement scanning throughout their depots.
A NI specific version of our 'best practice' guide has also been proposed to MLAs following councillors keen requests.