The SPCA is very disturbed about the recent domestic house cat pelt that was sold for about $62 (U.S. dollars) on the New Zealand website, Trade Me. The SPCA is obviously concerned about where the pelt came from and how it was acquired. For example, did the animal in question die naturally or was it killed specifically for its pelt? Did the animal suffer? The SPCA and other animal welfare groups were also worried that the listing of the pelt attracted a plethora of anti-cat comments, some of which were violent in nature.
Mr. Kerridge, president of the New Zealand SPCA, says the seller was in Manukau City where there are no known feral or wild cats. However, there are likely many stray cats and such a cat would be protected under the Animal Welfare Act. The New Zealand SPCA is considering filing charges.
This is not the first time a cat skin was offered in an online auction – nor the first from New Zealand. Controversial taxidermist, Andrew Lancaster, allegedly found a dead ginger cat on the side of a road earlier this year and he “thought it was a perfect specimen,” so he scooped-up the deceased animal, took it home and made a cat skin rug out of it. He then listed it on Trade Me, the same website that sold the other cat skin, and after a bidding war, collected almost $800 (U.S. dollars). More than 10,000 people viewed the cat rug, which was described like this:
For those people who can’t afford a Bear, Lion, Tiger or any other large skin rug, here is the cat skin rug. Mounted with both sides, feet and head. Large male in excellent condition.
Beautiful ginger/marmalade colour with striking markings.
Great little gift for the mancave!
90cm nose to tip of tail, and 50cm at widest point.
This one was picked up on the roadside in the middle of no where
(Napier/Taupo highway) and was probably wild.
Comments to this posting ranged from “disgusting” to “I laughed so hard, I nearly peed my pants.”
I do find this to be a very disturbing trend as stray cats are extremely vulnerable to poachers and if people discover there is a market for cat pelts, cats will increasingly be captured and killed. Trusting pet cats are obviously even easier to catch.
Ethical questions aside, is it even legal to kill and skin a cat? In some countries eating a cat or dog or using their fur is legal, while in other countries it is not. Currently, in the United States, the law, believe it or not, varies from state to state. California has some of the strictest laws while Virginia has one of the murkiest, thus leaving Virginians a lot of latitude to make their own decision on the subject. New York prohibits “any person to slaughter or butcher domesticated dog (canis familiaris) or domesticated cat (felis catus or domesticus) to create food, meat or meat products for human or animal consumption.” However, it is not clear whether the eating of such animals is outlawed or just the butchery (so, as long as you don’t kill the animal yourself you are not violating the law?). And what about the sale of pelts?
Looks like it is time to update animal welfare laws in the U.S. and world-wide.
You can help make this happen by taking the American SPCA’s pledge against animal cruelty and signing up for the International SPCA’s newsletter. The ASPCA sends out regular action alerts where you can join millions of others who actively stand-up for domestic animals who cannot speak for themselves. You can also join both organizations on Facebook.
Please also consider signing the petition calling for Canada to ban the sale of dog and cat fur, and the petition calling for an end to cat and dog cruelty in China.
Thank you for standing up for the world’s cats and dogs!