Friday, July 17, 2015

And Australia's "War on Cats" Marches On...

by Maggie Funkhouser

There's more talk in the news about Australia's plan to kill two million feral cats over the next five years in an attempt to protect wildlife; however, there's not much "new" news to report. The Australian government is still blaming cats for declining wildlife populations, with Gregory Andrews, the country's first threatened species commissioner, telling ABC Radio, “... the scientific evidence is crystal clear that they're the biggest threat.”

There's no doubt that wildlife populations are plummeting, but as the Earth enters its sixth mass extinction, scientists warn that the event has been greatly driven by human activity, such as land clearing, climate change, and pollution. Overdevelopment and overconsumption are the reasons for the planet's declining wildlife, not cats.

And if Australia hasn't learned anything from past eradication plans, killing does nothing to stop the breeding cycle and only creates a vacuum that attracts more cats. If catch-and-kill was effective at controlling cat populations, there wouldn't be any feral cats running around. A recent study conducted on Tasmania, the island state off the Southern coast of Australia, illustrates what happens when cats are removed from an area. Regular trapping and shooting of feral cats over a thirteen-month period actually led to an increase in the overall colony populations between 75 and 211 percent. At the end of the study, there were more cats running around than before they started killing.

What is "crystal clear" is Australia's continued pursuit to eradicate feral cats despite the evidence. If the government put half as much taxpayer money into Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs as it does developing poisoned bait and FeralCatScan apps (yes Australia has created an app for people to plug in locations of feral cat colonies so authorities can come out and kill the cats), the country would finally get control of its feral cat population and begin to see a reduction. Until then, we encourage our supporters to please speak up on behalf of the cats, by contacting the listed officials below. Let them know you strongly oppose their plan to use killing as a method of population management and that humane practices, like TNR, should be implemented instead.

Please contact:
The Honorable Greg Hunt, MP                                                                     
Minister for the Environment
Electoral Office
Shop 4, 184 Salmon Street
Hastings, VIC, 3915
Twitter: @GregHuntMP

Mr. Peter Wright, Director
Environmental Biosecurity Section
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

The Honorable Kim Beazley, AC                                                                       
The Embassy of Australia
1601 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone: (202) 797 3000
Fax: (202) 797 3168
Twitter: @AusAmbUSA

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