Australia Plans to Kill 2 Million Feral Cats
Australia has an endangered species problem and, in an effort to save their rare and diverse creatures, the government is planning to slaughter other animals: feral cats.
Feral cats are hunters by nature with no understanding that they’re taking out the last of a particular species when they kill for food and sport. Officials believe that the best way to fix the situation is to murder approximately two million feral cats over the next five years. However, a new Care2 petition is calling on the Australian government to find another solution.
Feral cats – which tend to be more than twice of the size of a common house cat – are responsible for killing about 75 million native Australian creatures each day. As a result of the cats’ prowling, roughly 120 species of Australian birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians are on the brink of extinction. “Of the 29 mammals that we’ve [already] lost to extinction, feral cats are implicated in 28 out of those 29 extinctions,” said Australia’s Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews.
This poses a difficult situation for animal lovers in particular. On the one hand, safeguarding endangered species is a priority, but on the other hand, killing millions of cats to accomplish this task is not desirable either.
Though the government acknowledges it is trying to kill the cats “efficiently,” it also pledges to try to complete this task “humanely.” Unfortunately, shooting or poisoning them, the two most popular methods of cat disposal currently being employed, are far from the types of euthanasia we picture when putting down our own pets.
As the PAW Project points out in its petition, Australia has used this method of catch-and-kill for years now. The problem has only exacerbated in the meantime, so why do officials think they’ll finally be able to effectively quell the cat population by trying more of the same?
While the petition authors admit that the program saw some success when it was implemented on a couple of tiny islands, they don’t consider it a practical way to wipe out cats on the main continent since there’s too much space to systematically catch all of the cats in a practical manner. Instead, they advocate that the cats be trapped, neutered and released to help keep the feral cat population down.
Australian officials are worried that releasing the cats back into the wild will only allow the cats to kill more animals in the short term. “It’s very important to emphasize, too, that we don’t hate cats,” said Andrews. “We just can’t tolerate the damage that they’re anymore to our wildlife.”
If you disagree with Andrews and the Australian government’s current plan to exterminate as many feral cats as they can round up, voice your opinion with the Care2 petition. One would think it’s possible to save some animals without having to kill other ones.
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