Susanna Reid horrified over claims Government ‘considered asking Britain to kill pet cats during height of COVID pandemic’

2 Mar 2023, 14:24
2 Mar 2023, 14:24

Ben Shephard, Boris Johnson, COVID-19, GMB, Good Morning Britain, Matt Hancock, Pets, Susanna Reid

On GMB today, Susanna Reid expressed complete shock at claims the Government considered culling pet cats as a COVID strategy.

Amid reports regarding thousands of ex Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s leaked WhatsApp messages, Boris Johnson’s head of NHS Test and Trace has claimed cats were at one point a source of concern.

Lord Bethell has even indicated dramatic measures were mulled over during the earlier days of the pandemic in 2020.

But co-host Susanna was incredulous at the suggestion much-loved pets being slaughtered across the country was an option.

Susanna Reid could barely believe what she was saying (Credit:

‘We might have to ask the public to exterminate all the cats in Britain’

Lord Bethell told Channel 4 News yesterday (Wednesday March 1): “What we shouldn’t forget is how little we understood about this disease.

“There was a moment we were very unclear about whether domestic pets could transmit the disease.”

He went on: “In fact, there was an idea at one moment that we might have to ask the public to exterminate all the cats in Britain. Can you imagine what would have happened if we had wanted to do that?

“And yet, for a moment there was a bit of evidence around that so that had to be investigated and closed down.”

GMB today

A stunned Susanna – anchoring the ITV show alongside Ben Shephard – couldn’t help but scoff as she relayed the claims.

Indeed, images of cats on screen as she spoke caused her to break her flow.

Susanna began: “In the wake of… okay, someone explains these pictures…”

To her right, Ben chuckled away before Susanna also released a giggle.

Former Health Minister Lord Bethell has revealed the government considered killing all of the UK’s pet cats at the start of the pandemic.

— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) March 2, 2023

She went on: “In the wake of the revelations behind all of these WhatsApp messages, a former health minister reveals that the Government ordering that ALL pet cats should be killed during the early months of the pandemic…”

Stressing her words, Susanna continued: “… Over fears they were spreading COVID.”

“Sorry – imagine that!?” she reflected in astonishment.

A smirking Ben made interjections about guidance at the time about not kissing pets, and maybe cleaning them.

But a bamboozled Susanna kept going.

I think they realised they might not get away with it.

Sounding exasperated, she sighed: “The idea that the government might, at one stage, tell owners ‘you have to put down your pet cat?!’”

“For the greater good,” Ben chipped in.

To which Susanna replied: “I think they realised they might not get away with it.”

Susanna Reid was incredulous on GMB today (Credit:

How GMB viewers reacted

Those watching at home expressed a variety of opinions to the moment and claims on social media.

One Twitter user wrote: “Disgraceful.”

“This would have been catastrophic!” punned a second.

Meanwhile, a third person quipped: “‘Dead Cat story’?!? They’re trying to distract and telling you they’re doing it. It is a mickey take.”

Read more: Good Morning Britain: Susanna Reid forced to make last-minute change to ‘racy’ outfit

GMB airs weekdays on ITV from 6am.

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