Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Australia Plans to Infect Feral Cats with a Deadly Virus

Last week, Australia's Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, announced that the country will begin researching a virus to kill feral cats. The government has endorsed a nationwide eradication plan of feral cats in an attempt to protect Australia's birds. Research is aimed at finding a “safe and targeted form of biological control.” But how "safe" is this virus, when pet owners are warned that they must immunize their housecats, because the virus doesn't discriminate between feral and domestic. ALL cats would be at risk if this deadly virus is released.

Previous attempts at eradicating feral cats on islands has proven nothing but costly, ineffective, and in most cases, counterproductive. When feral cats are removed from island ecosystems (usually to protect birds), rodents and other small mammals (raccoons, skunks, opossums) fill the available niche and prey on the native bird populations at the same rate or at an increased rate than did the cats. Removing feral cats only exacerbates the existing problem and creates new ones.

Humans are responsible for declining populations of birds and wildlife, NOT cats. It's estimated that every minute, 11 football fields of forest are cleared. Forests that provide food and shelter for birds and wildlife; forests that are home to billions of species of animals and plants. Forests that filter out toxic chemicals in the air and pollution in the water. Human development is destroying crucial habitat that is necessary for wildlife to live and thrive.

It's time humans start taking responsibly for their actions and stop placing false blame on cats. Killing is NOT a humane or morally-acceptable animal management practice. No animal deserves to die a slow and painful death by being infected with a virus. Non-lethal management practices, such as spay/neuter, are available and should be implemented. No wildlife management plan should include killing sentient life; it doesn't make sense to kill one species to preserve another.  

Join us in taking a stand against Australia's plan to kill feral cats! Please sign our petition and share widely. Together, we can make a difference for community cats.   

1 comment:

Rosie Summers said...

Please, please Stop Austraia from killing all feral cats. This is a hideous crime. Cats are domestic, good animals, very lovely and do not deserve to be killed just like pests.