January 30, 2006 in Choo-Choo

UK Government Code of Conduct for All Pets

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How sad that we live in a world where governments have to continually legislate on such matters.

The Times January 30, 2006
‘Pet police, ma’am. Just checking you haven’t put the cat out tonight
By Sam Coates

Government guidelines will tell owners exactly how they must care for their pets
CATS, dogs and other family pets are to have five statutory “freedoms” enshrined in law — and owners who flout the regulations could face jail or a fine of up to £5,000 after a visit from the “pet police”.
The Times has learnt that Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, is to produce detailed codes of conduct telling pet owners how to feed their animals and where they should go to the toilet, along with ways of providing “mental stimulation”. Owners of “sociable” pets should provide them with playmates, the codes will say.
Every domesticated animal will have a code of conduct tailored to their species, each of which is expected to run into dozens of pages. This will form part of the Animal Welfare Bill, expected to clear Parliament in the next few months….
The five freedoms laid down by the Animal Welfare Bill are: appropriate diet, suitable living conditions, companionship or solitude as appropriate, monitoring for abnormal behaviour and protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease. The law will be enforced by “pet police”; council employees with powers to enter property and seize animals….
“For cats,” the 18-page draft code tells cat owners that they should:
keep cats indoors at night to protect them and the local wildlife.
Neuter cats at four months old. Females can produce up to 18 kittens a year, the code says, and “motherhood takes a lot out of a cat”. Cats advertise their availability by screeching, fighting and wandering off, it adds.
Provide areas where cats can hide, such as an enclosed bed or box, or a high ledge where they can escape from children and other pets.
Ensure that cats have enough “mental stimulation” so that they do not become bored or frustrated.
Use lightweight rolling balls, or toys that stimulate “catching behaviour”, such as fishing rods.
Make sure that cats do not become overweight, and know their ideal weight at every stage of their life.
Ensure that cats’ preference for privacy is met by giving them a hidden away place with cat litter to relieve themselves. This advice forms part of a nine-point guide for “going to the toilet.”

I can proudly say that I am already in compliance of the code with my very pampered surrogate child, Choo-Choo. But it pains me to think that there are other animals out there who are taken into homes as pets and not being properly looked after.

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