It’s always a sign that the local elections are due when we start to receive the latest propaganda from all parties.
The latest, the ‘Solihull Champion’ newsletter from WM Mayor Andy Street is a case in point. It leads with the headline that he is taking the pressure off the Solihull Green Belt by encouraging the use of existing brownfield sites around the region. Perhaps he’d like to come and visit Blythe Ward in Solihull, consisting of Tidbury Green, Dickens Heath, Cheswick Green, Illshaw Heath and Hockley Heath, to explain in detail how that is going!
The ward is currently being overrun by new and proposed developments that will virtually eliminate most of the green spaces in the ward, and it seems Solihull MBC are unable to stop it, either because they don’t have the right powers, or they don’t want to spend money in court cases to prevent them going ahead. It’s ridiculous and completely disingenuous of Andy Street to give out false hope that the green belt will be protected when evidence shows that it is clearly not the case.
As the UK’s largest cat welfare charity, Cats Protection is always horrified to learn of cases where cats have been injured or killed after being shot with an air gun.
Sadly, we regularly receive reports of horrific cases across England and Wales where cats have suffered agonising injuries – often fatal – as a result of the indiscriminate use of air guns. Cats that survive frequently sustain life-changing injuries from air gun attacks, such as limb amputation or loss of an eye. Furthermore, a 2016 Cats Protection survey of vets found that 46% of reported incidents result in fatalities.
Many of your readers may be shocked to learn that air guns are unlicensed in England and Wales, meaning that they can be legally owned by anyone over the age of 18. This is in contrast with Scotland and Northern Ireland, which both have sensible, modern laws in place to regulate who can own an air gun. It can therefore be no coincidence that over 90% of the air gun attacks on cats reported in the press in the UK are in England and Wales.
Cats Protection is determined to change this, and our petition calling on the Government to introduce the licensing of air guns in England and Wales has gathered over 110,000 signatures. The Government launched a review into air weapons legislation in October 2017, including a consultation which concluded on 6 February 2018, but have still not reported their next steps.
In the meantime, your readers can help by signing our petition at www.cats.org.uk/airgunspetition
We’d also ask anyone with any information about shooting incidents to report them to either the police, RSPCA or RSPCA Cymru in Wales.
Head of Advocacy and Government Relations