Cats Protection delivers 100,000-strong petition to change air gun laws to 10 Downing Street
10 May 2018
Cats Protection has delivered a 100,000-signature petition directly to 10 Downing Street to call for a change in the law on air gun ownership in England and Wales.
The petition is part of a major campaign by the charity for legislation on air guns to be brought in line with stricter regulation that already exists in other parts of the UK. Along with over 50,000 supporters, the charity has also written to the Home Office calling for air gun licensing as part of a government review.
Cats Protection’s Chairman, Linda Upson delivered the petition to Prime MinisterTheresa May at Downing Street on Wednesday 9 Maywith Dominic Sullivan, acting Chief Executive and the Charity’s Advocacy team.
Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Jacqui Cuff said current laws in England and Wales meant there are not sufficient safeguards to stop air guns falling into the wrong hands.
She said: “We know that 90% of reported air gun attacks on cats happen in England and Wales, and it’s no coincidence that these are the parts of the country where licencing of air guns is not in place. Laws on air guns in Scotland and Northern Ireland are much tighter, and we believe this should apply for the whole of the UK.
“Cats who are shot with air guns can suffer horrific and often fatal injuries. We have heard stories of cats losing eyes, limbs and being left with life-changing injuries as a result of such attacks. Often owners are unaware of why their cat is injured until a veterinary x-ray shows air gun pellets embedded into their flesh.
“In the wrong hands, air guns are deadly weapons, and updating the laws relating to them is well overdue in England and Wales. Our petition of 100,000 people shows that a huge number of people agree that action must be taken urgently.”
In 2017, 164 cats in the UK were reported in the press as being shot with an air gun.
A 2016 Cats Protection survey found that almost half of vets questioned (44%) had treated cats which had been the victim of attacks by air-powered weapons in the last year, with nearly half of these shootings proving fatal (46%).
Northern Ireland led the way in restricting gun ownership and since 2004, anyone who buys, owns or uses an air weapon in Northern Ireland is now required to have a licence.
Scotland introduced licensing of air weapons at the beginning of 2017 and Cats Protection is calling for the licensing of air guns to be extended across the whole of the UK.
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Notes to Editors:
- Photo credit: Philippa Gedge Photography
- Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps around 200,000 cats and kittens each year through a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres.
- Cats Protection’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.
- Air gun attacks reported in the press and monitored by Cats Protection
- Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland). Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity in all published material.
- More information about the work of Cats Protection can be found at www.cats.org.uk and about our campaigns at www.cats.org.uk/speakingup