LETTER: Lockdown has not made roads safer for our feline friends
A reader raises awareness of the risks animals have on our roads.
You would think the current lockdown meant animals, especially cats, were safe from road accidents given the roads are now close to empty. We have found this not to be the case at CatsMatter, in fact, at least double the amount of cats are now being hit and killed by vehicles.
In normal times we tend to hear of around 4-6 incidents on a weekly basis. Now, as the UK is locked down with only essential workers and persons going out for shopping and/or medical supplies supposed to be on the roads, we are hearing of at least 8-12 incidents on a weekly basis. It's worrying and initially quite a shock, but if you consider traffic more irregular and faster, combined with vet and rescue closures, you see a pattern of disaster forming.
As the lockdown is helping save human lives during this pandemic, it's doubling the chances of cats being killed, but we do believe our advice will help owners not have their cats fall victim to this. In all the years we have been operating, as the UK's only feline road traffic accident group, we can confidently confirm we have never witnessed more deaths. Although we are thankfully through the peak of the coronavirus, we're afraid we are now living through the peak of cat deaths on the road.
We're the campaign group behind the upcoming compulsory microchipping of cats legislation the government is currently working on following a manifesto pledge. We worked with MP Rehman Chishti who initially put forward the 'Cats Bill' and brought the issue of compulsory microchipping, and reportable road accidents involving cats, to the attention of the then Environment Secretary, Michael Gove. Fast forward to now, and the government is following through with their pledge. We continue to work with DEFRA on this, as well as the reporting side which is to be revisited once compulsory microchipping has come into force, and also issues surrounding councils scanning cats found roadside. For further details about CatsMatter see catsmatter.org
The CatsMatter team