29 November 2011: Release time immediate
WILDLIFE CHARITY CALLS FOR ACTION ON ANTIFREEZE
The Wildlife Aid Foundation is calling for legislation to restrict the sale of antifreeze unless it contains a bitterant agent and the container carries a clear hazard warning about the dangers to animals.
Thousands of animals including wildlife and domestic pets die every year because they lick up spilled antifreeze on garage floors, driveways, garden paths, pavements and roads.
Antifreeze tastes sweet, and this makes it attractive to animals. But just two or three licks can kill. Death from kidney failure occurs within 48 hours unless the animal is treated immediately by a vet.
The reason is that most antifreeze varieties on the market contain ethylene glycol, which is highly toxic. Any animals consuming it and that are not treated in time will suffer a long and agonising death.
The Wildlife Aid Foundation’s hospital in Leatherhead has dealt with 10 cases in the past fortnight where the animals are thought to have ingested antifreeze, including three badgers and two foxes.
The charity is urging members of the public to ensure that there are no spillages in garages or driveways, and if antifreeze is spilled to make sure it is thoroughly cleaned up straight away before any animals can get to it.
Charity founder Simon Cowell MBE says: “The American Senate is currently debating the need for restrictions on antifreeze and we are calling on the British Parliament to do the same. With temperatures dropping and antifreeze being widely used, the risk to animals is huge.
“One way to make antifreeze safer is for the manufacturers to put a bitterant into the liquid so that it doesn’t taste sweet. The bitterant would deter animals from trying to drink it. We need a law to force manufacturers to include a bitterant agent. Some American states already have this requirement, and Senators are about to decide whether to make this a federal law.
“Britain is supposed to be a nation of animal-lovers so it’s about time we did something to protect our cats, dogs and wildlife from this danger.”
Simon adds that children are at risk too. “Ingesting just 10ml of this liquid can kill a child, and even a single lick can cause horrific ulceration of the mouth.”
Screenwash often contains antifreeze, and Simon believes this should be subject to the same rules.
“If you support our campaign, please write to your MP”, says Simon, “and sign the online petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/EGpoison/petition.html.”
The Wildlife Aid Foundation deals with all types of wildlife hazards. Altogether the charity deals with some 20,000 wildlife emergencies per year. For more information, including helpful advice on how to avert dangers to wild animals in your garden, garage and shed, go to www.wildlifeaid.org.uk.
Press contacts: Simon Cowell MBE, 07836 635269, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Andy Smith, 07737 271676, email@example.com