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Thursday, 9 March 2017

Southport’s Midweek Visiter criticised for encouraging unscrupulous back-street kitten breeding

A controversial 'kitten-selling' advertisement has appeared several times in this week’s edition of the Midweek Visiter. This irresponsible advert is believed to potentially encourage unscrupulous back-street breeding of unneutered cats. Why has the Visiter permitted this to be included? 

One could perhaps imagine that this unwise inclusion was simply a 'solitary' editorial mistake. However, the advert appears no less than three times in the 7th March 2017 edition of the newspaper on pages 4, 39 and 41. So why exactly is a kitten selling advert in a local newspaper so controversial?  OK, let's forget opinions and examine some hard facts...

Tackling the cat crisis

The RSPCA and other responsible charities have called for cats to be neutered and micro-chipped. They advise that the overpopulation of cats is a serious UK crisis, with many unwanted kittens being dumped each year. Back street kitten selling, for quick profit, is undoubtedly helping the cat crisis to escalate.

The RSPCA stated:

‘The cat population in the UK has reached crisis point. Despite subsidised neutering schemes from rescue organisations, more and more cats are coming into our care and less homes are taking in cats. Our centres are full and we're left to pay expensive private boarding fees. Urgent action is needed to increase neutering rates and reduce the number of unlucky cats that end up in rescue centres.’

The RSPCA believes that neutering cats at an early age reduces their ‘hunting instinct’ and as such reduces the chances of cats hunting endangered species. One unneutered female cat can produce 18 kittens in a year and can end up with 20,000 descendants in just five years.

Leading cat welfare charity Cat Protection claims the stray cat population has now hit an all-time high as shelters struggle to keep up with the enormous numbers of cats being brought in.

The consequences of this immoral kitten market can be disturbing. Frequently unsuspecting purchasers buy vulnerable kittens that are sick and often too young to leave their mother. This of course results in a lack of vital nutrients for the kitten to develop properly. Disease and illness may set in and later poor socialisation may become an issue. Many die and others are dumpted into the wild by cruel owners to become feral. The latter breeds at will and the ramifications to already struggling local wildlife populations are devastating.  The average cat kills up to around 40 small creatures each year. The UK’s domestic cat population is estimated to be between nine and 10 million, which amounts to at least 300 million deaths of small creatures a year.

Sir David says – buy your cat a collar to help save our birds.

Sir David Attenborough has warned that cats are killing huge numbers of birds in British gardens. The TV naturalist said cat owners should buy bell collars for their pets to help stop the deaths. 

Additionally, more UK housing developments near to attractive green spaces are seeing yet more irresponsible families bringing in more pet cats. This is leading to wide-ranging cat predation of our UK wildlife and numbers of birds, mammals and amphibians etc are being decimated.

Hard-pressed charities are now being forced into highlighting the fact that numerous thoughtless families take on the responsibility of a pet cat, only later realising that they are financially unable (or simply unwilling) to provide adequate care for their pet’s growing needs. This avoidable fiasco leads to yet more dumped cats and undue strain on overstretched charities with limited resources, like the RSPCA.

If you own a pet cat (or any other species) be responsible for its actions. 

Please help cats and help our UK wildlife by saying ‘NO’ to unscrupulous back-street cat breeding today.

If you own a cat then please do not add to the growing crisis – get it neutered, keep it indoors (uncontrolled cats outdoors do get hit by road vehicles) or at least provide it with a collar bell ASAP.

Why a locally - established newspaper would openly encourage this cat crisis situation to escalate further is not fully understood. Perhaps their management wish to explain just what they are playing at?

The media should set a good professional example and encourage ‘responsible’ pet ownership instead of unregulated (and frequently cruel) back-street kitten breeding.

Our sympathy should be reserved for badly treated cats, our hard-pressed animal charities and UK wildlife under threat, due to human irresponsibility surrounding this appalling crisis situation.

Charities work very hard in educating people about neutering. So this reckless  unregulated kitten- selling  advert appearing in a local newspaper is just not good enough.

Wildlife, over-worked animal charities and the cats themselves deserve better than this! 

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