An animal charity is calling for legislation to restrict the sale of antifreeze unless it contains a clear hazard warning about the dangers to animals.

The Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF) claims 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 a taste deterrant, or bitterant agent, would take away the sweet taste and deter animals from trying to drink 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.”

The WAF 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.