For over five years now, the Australian government has been under fire from international cat welfare groups for its use of poisons, shooting, and bounty offers to get a handle on its cat overpopulation problem. The government and some environmentalists are concerned about the feral cats’ predation on native and threatened species and when the sanctioning of cat-culling began, they believed there were around 20 million feral cats in Australia. However, since that time the estimate has been dramatically revised to somewhere around 2.2 million, yet the government continues to encourage and fund cat eradication.
One can get an unpleasant glimpse into the mindset of some of these leaders from House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy chair and Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien, is quoted by ABC Australia as saying the 2020 Federal parliamentary inquiry into overpopulation would approach the problem with an "independent, sort of dispassionate look at it all.” But these cats deserve compassion, especially considering that they were introduced to Australia in the first by people (European settlers) and were even brought in in large numbers specifically for rodent control. Add to that the fact there are an estimated 3.8 million owned cats in Australia, many of whom are free-roaming, who are equally responsible for predation of wildlife and it becomes clear that people are the true culprits in this scenario.
Ironically, due to the abundance of resources following an unusually rainy 2020, the large Australian state of New South Wales is experiencing an overpopulation crisis from mice. The infestation is seriously affecting the farming community there as the mice are eating or contaminating tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of their crops. The mice are also becoming a direct health hazard, biting hospital patients!
NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall has proposed an unnatural, short-sighted plan to use an extremely powerful poison (he called it “the most powerful poison that we can get our hands on”) called bromadiolone. Marshall has sought urgent approval from the Commonwealth’s APVMA to have and use bromadiolone, but many people are cautioning that such a potent poison will also kill the animals that prey on the mice. Charles Sturt University ecologist, Maggie Watson says the poison is "just too dangerous" for use anywhere in the environment. She warned "You could completely reduce the population of [native] birds of prey." She didn’t express concern over any feral or free-roaming cats being poisoned, but her point is well taken.
It is contradictory for the government to cull cats in order to protect natural wildlife yet risk natural wildlife in order to fix their moues infestation. That aside, could it be any more obvious that a safer method of rodent control and certainly a more intelligent, humane way to deal with a significant portion of the feral cat population would be to relocate sterilized cats (from many different colonies/areas to avoid a vacuum effect) to this large region? Marshall has even brought up the need for an effective solution because booms in the mouse population is a recurring problem, and cats would be on the job probably before people even realized it was happening. But instead of killing two birds with one stone, environmental decision makers prefer to kill millions of cats… with shot guns.
You can push back against Marshall's dangerous idea by signing ACR's petition!
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