Australia: A pet cat is an environmental hazard. Discuss

The author of the website: Burke’s Backyard, an Australian living in Australia, says that a pet cat is an environmental hazard. What he does not do is write about people. He should because people are far more of an environmental hazard than cats. If Mr Burke is concerned about the environment, which he obviously is, he should address the big issues first, namely people. His website is not solely concerned with cats; far from it, so there are no restrictions on addressing the big issues.

The environmental impact of the domestic cat is exaggerated by Australians. I don’t know for sure, but it is likely that the environmental impact of people is 100 times greater that for cats. Please, stop being hypocritical, Mr Burke.

Mr Burke writes that:

[pat cats] can have a devastating effect on local wildlife populations..

Big words but what about the effect of people? He says the pet cat kills “300 animals during its average life span”. Where did he get this information from? He does not tell us.

He recommends a cat enclosure or keeping cats inside, for their entire life. He mentions that Australian legislation is moving towards forcing cat owners to keep their cats inside or within enclosures. My research certainly indicates a trend, in Australia, against cats being allowed outside. Other control measures are also being considered such as obligatory microchipping and curfews when cats must be kept in. The Australians are very effective at passing laws that manage their country; moreso than the UK, for example.

Because Mr Burke failed to write about the impact of people on Australian wildlife here are some examples that are readily available on the internet:

From the Humane Society International (Australia): Regarding carbon dioxide emissions. Australians do their bit in contributing to climate change, which according to Humane Society International (Australia)….

“will be a major challenge for Australian wildlife…In past eras of natural climate change, species would have been better able to adapt as their habitats had not already been so greatly reduced and fragmented by agricultural and urban development. (comment: Aussies have damaged the habitat of their wildlife species).

From Wikipedia: This is what the authors write:

The impact of Aborigines on native species populations is widely considered to be less significant than that of the European settlers, whose impact on the landscape has been on a relatively large scale. Since European settlement, direct exploitation of native fauna, habitat destruction and the introduction of exotic predators and competitive herbivores has led to the extinction of some 27 mammal, 23 bird and 4 frog species.

On climate change from Dr Anne Fowler BSc(Vet)(Hons) BVSc, MACVSc (Avian Health, Wildlife Health) — “The current impact of climate change on Australian wildlife”

Our best example is the Murray-Darling Basin where a combination of human activity and drought years are now leading to the demise of the River Red Gum forests that line the river. Increasing levels of soil salinity are occurring as a consequence of land management practices and lack of water flow…..read more..

From the Australian government:

However, as Australia has developed, our natural environment has become increasingly fragmented resulting in significant loss of natural habitats and a decline in biodiversity. This problem is compounded by threats such as climate change…

The authorities want to build wildlife corridors to connect the fragmented habitats. This is an act of desperation because it is difficult to do this and it is a reactionary process. It is a process of failure. The government is admitting that wildlife is being damaged by human activity.

Mr Burke: please try and present a balanced view of the threats to Australia’s native wildlife species.

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Australia: A pet cat is an environmental hazard. Discuss — 20 Comments

  1. Here is the page where you can send your comments to Mr Burke.

    I have already sent my comment citing the Smithsonian study as a prime example of flawed studies which lead people to misunderstand the situation. I also sent the oonk to Sarah Hartwell’s critique over the Australian Cat Predicament.
    http://www.messybeast.com/auspredicament.htm

  2. What is it with these people who have it in for cats all the time!
    Burke says cats kill 300 animals during their lifetime, how can he know this? He can’t, he’s only guessing.
    I think someone should start counting how many animals and birds are killed by hunters!
    When will these people start to admit that the human race kills far more animals and birds than cats ever do. They will end up looking extremely stupid if they eventually have their own way and there are no free roaming cats to blame, but wild life will still keep on dying out as long as people destroy their habitat with their selfishness, overbreeding and pollution.

    • What is it with these people who have it in for cats all the time!

      Arrogance and human blindness. Burke’s blindness. Or perhaps people are just trying to pass the buck. They know they are screwing up but can’t change so they find a scapegoat, anything to take the blame and ease the guilt.

  3. I believe we have to constantly tackle this bias against the cat and force people to look more honestly at themselves no matter how uncomfortable it is.

    • You are precisely and exactly right Michael. It’s no fun to deal with the real reason. They just like their jobs and power but if they started telling people to change their lifestyle they wouldn’t be so popular.

  4. What a bunch of f*****g w***ers – neandertholes. Sounds like an excuse to get the gun out and wage war for fun with a supposed altruistic reason or something. If they were serious they would have stopped at the first step where the smithsonian talked out their a** h*les to get a point accross – that point being that they don’t like cats because sometimes cats kill a bird and therefore they want to take that ball and run with it as far as it can go based on there b*llsh*t calculations based on yet more nonsense. They have created a problem out of almost nowhere and all the while they exacerbate this made up problem the real problem wont get solved – it’s like a decoy – its like saying ‘its more fun to go with this one than to face the real problem’. I don’t think this would happen if they really truly truly truly and utterly cared – but they don’t – they just like their jobs and looking like they are on the case and sounding like they have a good story and a real war to wage. If they really cared – I mean really and truly and totally more than anything cared – then this wouldn’t be happening. They are just yet another handful of d**kheads with too much power. Sorry. Just my 2 cents.

    • That’s an official Marc rant 😉 And a very nice one that I completely agree with and said in a way that is far more effective that I can say it.

    • I love the official ‘Marc rants’
      Marc you are a man who thinks deeply and speaks with passion, good on you!

      • You guys are both very kind – you know i always regret freaking out after I do – to me it shows a lack of control but then again I never freak out vocally on anyone ever so maybe its my secret way of expressing what I really think and it is what I really think. I don’t agree with being so rude however but that doesn’t mean I don’t really hate some of the things people do and say.

        If there was an ‘edit’ button I think I would have not had the guts to leave my rants and I’d probably edit them. It suits Michael’s site very well not to have an edit button. This site is very valuble to me because things get properly discussed. I mean I do really think what I said about this article but I could have said it less ‘plainly’ – put it that way. Yet I certainly wouldn’t be able to say it so plainly anywhere else. There’s alot of value in that in the end, no matter which way you look at it.

        • Marc, pussyfooting around often does no good at all, nice doesn’t work with some people so we have to use ‘nasty’
          It’s like the declawing movement, some of the Americans say not to be so blunt, but how else will people get to know how downright cruel it is? There is NO excuse to declaw cats and PoC makes that quite plain and I know for a fact has saved more claws than prettily dressing the cruelty up to spare peoples feelings!
          This site is straightforward and honest and I love it that Michael is not afraid to allow us to have our say.

  5. This makes me so frustrated. People who are willing to make up stats so they can get something that bothers them taking care of (like that Smithsonian woman Michael reported on a few months back). Any right minded individual will most likely see right through his foggy details. [shakes head] People…

  6. Don’t forget to send some well thought-out comments to.-
    http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/contact
    The more the merrier. Otherwise he won’t take any notice.
    It’s something like herd instinct. They are easily motivated because they feel they belong to a group with a common cause and their otherwise empty lives take on a meaning. Obviously they never pause to consider if the cause has any value or if it actually do harm or good. That is secondary it seems. Throughout history masses of people have been led on causes by unscrupulous manipulative leaders and ended up mashed. In this case it is the cats who will suffer first , then the environment, then the people themselves.

    • The more I read about cats, the more I see failure in people. Thankfully, there are some good people around who like cats and animals generally. I’ll leave Mr Burke a comment. I just left a link to this page for Mr Burke to read.

    • Thanks for the link Harvey – I’ll leave a serious and reasonable commant, not something that will confirm in his mind his prejudices obviously. He probably thinks cat lovers are just obsessed with cats without any real serious or useful thoughts but we should show him otherwise.

  7. “The pet cat kills 300 animals during its average life span.” Sounds like a made up number to me. You’d have to track cats carefully to determine this, and lots of cats for it to be a valid study. Was this done? Monty’s been out there most of the day, with me checking on him periodically, and he hasn’t killed a single thing all day. I guess the pet cats have a devastating impact on wildlife would have to be better hunters than he is. He’s killed two birds and two rabbits. One bird escaped him. He wounded a chipmunk, which got away and may or may not have survived, and he caught and ate a baby chipmunk. He’s had two mice which we were able to rescue from him with no visible injuries. It would be nice if his kills were mice instead of birds, but two in four years is not such a big deal. No way he gets to 300 in his lifetime, and many people keep cats in so that they never hunt. Those cats who never hunt would have to be figured in the average, I would think.

    I noticed this brilliantly beautiful yellow bird while I was driving in Bayside, WI near the Audubon Center’s land. There is a huge variety of birds on that property. So no one has pet cats in Bayside? There are no feral cats in Bayside? I doubt that. Would it maybe have more to do with the large nature preserve there? I think birds need a bigger habitat than is available in many areas of the city. It makes more sense to assume that the size of the wooded area available for nesting has more to do with how many birds are found there than the number of cats in that suburb.

  8. Burke by name BURK by nature,he must think we are all too stupid to think for ourselves and will believe the rubbish he writes.
    I’ll leave a comment too when I calm down 🙁

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