The following is from the Perth Pets in Need Facebook group. I wholeheartedly agree with their views, so please read and take action if you believe it’s justworthy.
The Federal Government has introduced plans to spend $6.6 million to eradicate Australia of 2 million “feral” cats by 2020 in order to “save” threatened species from extinction.
These programs will include trapping, shooting, baiting and worst of all, spending funding on researching a virus to wipe out feral cats and colonies, and have already started here in Western Australia in the form of poison sausages. Not only are cats now being targeted by our government through eradication programs, they have gone one step further and produced an app for community members to dob “feral” cats in. They can’t even allocate funds to produce an app to dob in animal abuse or inject more funding into assisting animal welfare organisations, yet they have taken the time and spent the funding to develop an app to target feral cats!
We hear figures flying around about the “75 million” killed every night or “20 billion” native animals being killed each year by the “20 million feral cats”, but at those rates one would suspect our native animals species would be wiped out in a matter of years, if not already. Studies have ruled out native animals being the only dietary intake of feral cats, with many concluding that non native species, such as mice, rats and rabbits making up the majority of feral cat diets. Certainly when it comes to the removal of un-owned cats from industrial and commercial areas around cities, we would see a huge jump in the rat and mice populations. These figures also fail to take into account the impact land development, other introduced species and vehicles have on native species numbers, as well as the native species such as raptors, dingoes and quolls who also prey on native animals.
In regards to “feral” cat populations, with only an estimated 1 million feral camels, 3 million feral goats, 6 million foxes and 7 million feral pigs, the estimated 20 million feral cats conservationists try to sell as fact, seems far fetched. We only have around 8 million owned cats around the country and with 23 million people in Australia, it is hard to imagine we have similar numbers of feral cats “hiding” in the outback and bush. Perhaps if one was to include all owned, un-owned and feral cat numbers, we could stretch numbers to 20 million if we tried really hard, but the reality is we don’t have anywhere near the numbers as conservationists claim.
Lastly there is the issue of the impact these programs have on native species, such as quolls, dingoes and raptors, as well as on owned cats and dogs, which must be taken into consideration. Baiting and traps can inadvertently kill native species and a virus has the potential to kill of thousands of owned cats, especially where cat owners may struggle to cover the cost of a vaccine to protect their pet. Without a doubt feral animals do have an impact on native animal numbers, but we as humans have had a far greater impact and have much more to answer for than any species of animal. If we are going to implement such measure to control feral cats, lets not use made up statistics to back up our arguments, lets find more humane methods of getting the results we want.
We have attached links to the media articles and the petition to stop this attack on feral cats.
Info on diet of feral cats:
Eradication programs can do more harm than good:
theconversation.com/ culling-pest-animals-can-do -more-harm-than-good-40702
The debate on statistics:
news/2014-11-13/ greg-hunt-feral-cat-native- animals-fact-check/5858282
News on feral cat eradication programs:
www.theguardian.com/ environment/2015/jul/16/ australian-government-decla res-war-on-feral-cats-in-b id-to-save-endangered-spec ies
Greg Hunt calls for research into virus:
www.theaustralian.com.au/ national-affairs/ greg-hunt-calls-for-eradica tion-of-feral-cats-that-ki ll-75m-animals-a-night/ story-fn59niix-122693964402 7