In a 1999 report broadcasted by PM on Australia’s Radio National, it was announced that “Victorian animal scientists have developed the world's first poison pill, designed specifically to kill cats. It's hoped the pill will bring the feral cat population under control. Environmental groups say it will save native fauna and flora and it has the support of at least some animal welfare groups.”
According to the broadcast, the toxic pill has been designed specifically for cats and it will not harm other animals. Gerry Maynes, from the Environment Australia Centre, says “The way it operates is that the chemical affects oxygen transport through the hemoglobin in the blood, and effectively what happens is that the cat goes to sleep and doesn't wake up.” Mr. Maynes also states that the pill is humane and its use is supported by animal welfare groups.
Gerry Maynes says, “…In developing this we've kept groups like the RSPCA Australia, and the Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animals Societies aware of what's happening. Dr Hugh Worth from the RSPCA's had a look at some of the experimental work and his concern as you indicated earlier, that this material not be made freely available to irresponsible people. But, on the basis of the work so far, he is satisfied that it would appear to be a humane control method.”
Just recently, in an article appearing in The Sydney Morning Herald, “New traps that attract cats using sound and light, and then squirt them with poison, will soon be tested in South Australia's Kangaroo Island, the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre said on its website.”
"This is a tunnel that emits a... sound and bright features that attract cats to it," said Professor Steven Lapidge. "It requires them to walk through a tunnel and if they set off certain sensors in a certain configuration, then it detects the shape of the animal. If it is a cat then it will deliver a short spray onto its belly of a toxic substance that puts them to sleep."
According to the article, “The [Invasive Animals Cooperative Research] Centre believes Australia may have more than 18 million feral cats descended from escaped domestic pets, which kill native wildlife and are hard to control using conventional poisons.” Australia also is trying to control feral populations of pigs, rabbits, foxes, and even camels.
ACR is urging our members to contact the Australian Ambassador and tell him to look at the US and European countries for humane methods of controlling feral cat populations. Explain to Mr. Beazley that killing cats is not a long-term solution to such a complex situation. Tell him TNR programs should be utilized instead of using toxic pills and poison traps.
The Honorable Kim Beazley
1601 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 797-3000
Fax: (202) 797 3168