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Weekly in row over ‘cat-killing’ drugs campaign slogan

A weekly newspaper has defended itself against claims by an animal charity that its logo for an anti-drugs campaign could incite cruelty to cats.

The Llanelli Star has launched a campaign to highlight the dangers of the drug mephedrone, which is also known as M-Cat or meow meow.

However the paper’s campaign logo, which reads “Let’s Kill the Cat,” led to protests from the Cats Protection charity.

Local branch manager Patrick Willey asked it to consider removing the words from to avoid possible cruelty to cats, after a number of incidents in the last year.

He wrote: “While we understand the seriousness of the drugs issue in the area and your support for the issue, we feel that ‘kill the cat’ is not particularly appropriate, especially in light of the recent reporting of a decapitated cat being put through someone’s letterbox.

“Indeed this message we believe is not derived from the Star, but we passionately ask if you would seriously consider removing these words from any future campaign message to alleviate any possible resulting cruelty issues as they are causing some distress to some.”

The paper’s editor Bede MacGowan defended the logo in an editorial, saying it was “highly unlikely” there would be a link between cat cruelty and the slogan.

However he told readers that he would be “happy to think again” if they felt differently.

Wrote Bede: “The Star’s aim has been to highlight the dangers of mephedrone or meow meow as it is known, bring dealers to justice and ultimately reclassify the substance to Class A. We believe this will save lives in Llanelli.

“When we chose the slogan, it was after much debate and consideration that we came to the conclusion that nobody would be stupid enough to see it and actually act on it literally.

“After all, each time we use it, it is alongside a story relating to mephedrone and the terrible dangers it poses — and accompanying the words ‘Meow Meow — Let’s Kill the Cat’ is a clear image of a white powder in a bag.

“However, we did receive one phone call from a worried cat owner and now we have received this letter from Cats Protection.

“While we find it highly unlikely there is any link between animal cruelty and the slogan, we’re always keen to listen to our readers.

“Let us know if you think we should ditch it and, if the strength of feeling is there, we’ll be happy to think again.”

Chooselife Cymru chief executive Alan Andrews, who has worked with the Star since the launch of the campaign, also defended the logo.

He said: “People who the campaign is aimed at would know that ‘kill the cat’ means stop taking it.

“If society has become so deranged that people can misinterpret it as a message to go out and kill cats then we’re living in a sadder world than I thought.”


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  • October 16, 2012 at 8:37 am

    This is perhaps the worst campagin slogan I’ve seen. In today’s unpredictable and (sometimes) hostile world I’m certainly not happy with it and am fully behind the animal charity campaigner’s plea to get the posters altered.
    Maybe Spencer Feeney, the long-serving Northcliffe editor, will step in and give consideration to this before he retires.
    I do, however, support the Llanelli Star’s campaign in principle and wish it well.

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  • October 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I believe Mr Feeney has already left the buidling, so to speak.

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