Battersea reveals key animal welfare issues to new Minister on visit

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has welcomed the new Minister responsible for animal welfare to its London centre to witness first-hand some of the key welfare issues the Home faces on a daily basis, including backstreet breeding and animal cruelty.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was greeted by a Guard of Honour of Battersea dogs at the Home on Friday 28 October before he was taken on a full tour.

The Minister had the opportunity to meet several of the lost and unwanted dogs in the Home’s care, learn more about the journey more than 8,000 animals take through the world-renowned centre each year, and discover how effective the introduction of compulsory microchipping in April has been on the charity’s dog intake.
 
During his visit, Lord Gardiner and Battersea’s Chief Executive Claire Horton discussed the most urgent animal welfare issues that Battersea deals with, including the shocking consequences of puppy farming, backstreet breeding, animal cruelty and breed-specific legislation.
 
Claire Horton said: “We were really pleased to welcome Lord Gardiner to Battersea as the new Minister responsible for animal welfare to highlight the consequences of these shocking practices and the impact they have on Battersea. We take in thousands of lost and abandoned animals every year – dogs of all breeds and not just the easy-to-rehome ones - so we care for the canine victims cruelty, ignorance and neglect every single day.

“We’re calling for stronger sentences for animal cruelty offences – currently the maximum sentence in England is just six months and having seen some of the terrible cases that come through our doors, we believe we should follow Ireland raise it to five years.

“We’re grateful to Lord Gardiner for taking the time to come to Battersea to meet our animals and discuss in detail these important welfare issues.”

Defra Minister for animal health and welfare, Lord Gardiner, said: “I am very grateful to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home for hosting me and showing me some of the marvellous work they do.

“Seeing the dogs that are waiting to be rehomed was a reminder of the importance of having your dog microchipped and keeping your details up to date, as this is crucial in ensuring you can be reunited with your canine companion should they ever go missing.”

One dog who enjoyed greeting Lord Gardiner in the Guard of Honour was one-year-old Rupert. The Jack Russell Terrier was found as a stray earlier this month and could not be reunited with his owner as he did not have a microchip. He is now looking for a new home. Battersea cares for an average of 260 dogs across its three centres at any one time, and there is no time limit on how long a dog or cat can wait before they find a home.

Battersea will be highlighting these vital welfare issues further at its annual Collars & Coats Gala Ball on Thursday 3 November. Some of the Home’s former residents – many victims of animal cruelty and neglect - will be showing off their incredible transformations on stage.