These 12 points are the key policies our four-legged friends want politicians to deliver on after the upcoming general election.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has launched its first ever manifesto highlighting key welfare issues affecting the canine and feline population which need political support.

The manifesto has been sent to MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates in every constituency.

A ban on the sale of puppies under eight weeks old

End the exemptions and loopholes which allow the sale of puppies before eight weeks by unscrupulous breeders who treat puppies as commodities for profit.

Licensing for the second litter

Battersea believes the law should safeguard all dogs, whether bred for profit or not. Currently no licence is needed if breeding fewer than five litters at no profit. Reducing this from five to two would allow welfare standards to be better understood and enforced without targeting one-off accidental litters.

Improving welfare for greyhounds

Battersea is seeking better welfare provision for the lives of greyhounds, not just on the track, but improving standards in kennelling, feeding and socialisation as well as rehoming after their careers have finished.

Compulsory microchipping

Battersea offers free microchipping to support the introduction of compulsory microchipping of all dogs from April 2016.

Two-year sentence for animal cruelty and fighting

The UK penalty for cruelty to animals is among the lowest in Europe with a maximum of six months in prison – Battersea is calling for at least two years.

Use only cat and dog safe anti-freeze

Call on manufacturers to make anti-freeze with bitrex, or without ethylene glycol to prevent ingestion of poisonous substances.

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A ban on electric shock and prong collars

Training methods should never enforce behaviour through fear and suffering. Battersea is opposed to electric shock or piercing prong devices and believe they should be banned for good.

End anti-social behaviour with dogs

Collaboration between dog owners, charities, government and enforcement agencies offers the best chance of reducing anti-social behaviour with dogs.

End breed-specific legislation

Behaviour, not looks, determine if a dog is considered dangerous – Battersea wants to see an end to breed-specific laws that fail to solve the problem and cause healthy dogs to be put to sleep.

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Consistent dog warden services across the country

Having specially trained dog wardens more readily available would allow local authorities to be more effective in tackling dog control.

Controlling cat numbers

Neutering cats early helps to prevent unplanned litters and reduce the risk of infection and injury. Battersea recommends neutering your cat at four months old.

Consolidation of dog legislation

Battersea wants to see existing UK dog laws consolidated into one, to end confusion and help support responsible ownership, safeguard public safety and protect canine welfare.

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Do you support Battersea’s manifesto? Would you be more likely to vote for a candidate who showed concern for animal issues? Add your comments below.

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