Antifreeze (used in cars) has a sweet taste that attracts animals, but it is highly toxic. Usually resulting in kidney failure and a slow and painful death, a teaspoon full is enough to kill a fully grown cat.
The Humane Society Legislative Fund estimate that between 10,000 to 90,000 animals are poisoned each year from ingesting sweet-tasting antifreeze and coolants that spill on driveways, car parks or are left in open containers in garages.
The deadly ingredient is called 'ethylene glycol'. A bittering agent introduced into commercially available antifreeze would greatly reduce the number of such poisonings, but currently this is not added in the UK.
The USA has admirably lead the way. The makers of antifreeze and engine coolant in the states have now agreed to add a bitter flavour to their products to deter animals, "denatonium benzoate". This was announced on Dec 13 2012 by the Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Consumer Specialty Products Association. Why aren't the British, a nation of animal lovers, taking the same action?
"This is a ground-breaking example of what's right with Washington," says Sara Amundson, executive director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. "After years of battling over legislation addressing this important issue, the manufacturers of antifreeze and engine coolant have been working with animal advocates to pass state laws with mutually-agreed on language. Now, the Humane Society Legislative Fund applauds them for taking this important step to help protect our pets, kids and wildlife in every state."
There is currently no UK legislation forcing manufacturers to routinely add a bitterant to antifreeze. The UK government should draft, vote upon and enact legislation preventing the sale of any antifreeze products without a bitterant additive. Europe and other countries should also agree to do the same. What's the delay?
Every day costs more animal lives! I know of two dogs killed last year in my neighbourhood alone, needlessly, after licking anti freeze from puddles in a local car park. Tell their heart broken owners that it's not that important.