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Draconian plans on pet ownership
PET lovers could be forced into a Noah's Ark situation and have to look after their animals ‘two by two’ under proposed new laws, according to a Northamptonshire animal rescuer.
Andy Meads, who runs bird rescue sanctuary Safewings in Isham, said parts of the Government's proposed animal welfare bill are “barking mad”.
He has been asked to give his opinion of the 161-page document, on behalf of the county, at a Government meeting in December.
But Mr Meads fears the RSPCA, which is also being consulted, will use its size to pressure the Government into accepting its ideas, including banning people from keeping just one pet.
He said: “The RSPCA doesn't think it's fair to keep a single animal, you have to keep them with their own kind. Gone will be the days of children having a pet rabbit.
“People won't be able to keep birds in cages either, they will have to build aviaries, so that old woman in a flat with a budgie for company will have to give it away or get it put down.”
The bill, which aims to update animal welfare laws, includes whether docking tails should be banned, if circuses should be allowed to keep performing animals and whether pet shops should be outlawed.
Mr Meads agrees parts of the bill are a good idea but he is worried it could go too far.
He added: “Things have got to change but we are being drawn into a Big Brother situation. There are many areas that give cause for concern as they will adversely affect all pet and animal keepers.
“There are calls for all pets to have companions. There is a very high chance that all dogs and cats will have to be microchipped and a compulsorily registered if the Government joins the Council of Europe Convention of Pet Animals.
“They are now considering a special tax on all dog owners.
“The public needs to be made aware what is being proposed.”
Mr Meads wants to hear from anyone who has an opinion on the bill or who wants to find out more. You can call him on 01536 726113 or write to: Safewings, 46 South Street, Isham, Northamptonshire, NN14 1HP.

Monday, November 04, 2002



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