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Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Nigel Waterson’s Pets Bill has cleared another major hurdle by receiving its Second Reading in the Commons. The measure had cross-party support.

Nigel has long supported moves to encourage care homes and sheltered accommodation to be more flexible with their pets policy.  At the moment a staggering 38,000 healthy animals are put down every year, as too few homes allow older people to bring their pets with them when they move in.  Another 100,000 have to be given up for adoption, with many being very distressed by their abandonment and having to be put down as well.
Nigel commented:  “Pets are an important source of physical, emotional and social support for older people.  They have proven health benefits for the elderly and can improve cardiovascular and mental health.  They are also a great antidote for loneliness, which can afflict so many older people.”

“The Minister admitted that only 5% of the 18,500 care homes in England are listed as ‘pet-friendly’. This clearly underlines the need for legislation like that set out in my Bill.”

“The Bill would normally move on now to its Committee stage. However, sadly, it is unlikely this Bill will make it onto the statute book due to the imminent General Election.  In the next Parliament, a new government might take an even more enthusiastic position on the idea than the present government; or another Member might be fortunate enough to win in the ballot and put it forward again.”

“But I am well pleased that the principle behind my Bill has been approved by the House.  It sends a message to people out there who are affected that we do care, we do understand and we want to do something about the problem.”

8 March 2010