Australian authorities favor the rat and hate the cat

The Australian authorities headed by the Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, have declared war on the feral cat which they say is decimating native species. They have been saying this for a long time. One of the native species which needs protecting and which is critically endangered is the central rock rat. This animal will receive emergency intervention to protect it while simultaneously directions will be issued to kill 2 million feral cats as a pest through baiting, shooting and poisoning despite the fact that the authorities say feral cats will be wiped out “humanely”. How is that? You can’t poison and shoot feral cats humanely. Dying by poising is painful. The target is to kill them in five years.

War on feral cats in Australia
War on feral cats in Australia
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

There it is. They say they don’t hate the feral cat but if you making serious plans to kill 2 million of them in inhumane ways it sounds a bit hollow to say that you don’t hate them.

In addition, the authorities have failed to sufficiently address the central reason for diminished numbers of native wild species, namely habitat loss due to expanding human activity. Why don’t they wage war on themselves at the same time? That would be unacceptable wouldn’t it?

Not enough emphasis has been placed on habitat loss. In addition to killing cats, the intention is to improve the quality of existing habitat and to create safe havens for threatened species.

They expect to kill 2 million feral cats with less than 6.6 million Aussie dollars. That won’t be enough and I’d be surprised if the plan works.

They have said that there are 20 million feral cats in Australia, which is a pure estimate. In truth, they don’t know. However, if it is true they plan to kill one-tenth of the total population. All that will happen is that other feral cats will infiltrate areas vacated by the killed ones.

The government is also looking for money from the private sector to fund these plans. If I was them I’d spend more money but spend it on altering the behavior of people, particularly commercial enterprises, which tend to destroy habitat for commercial gain. At the same time, instigate a proper, well funded trap-neuter-release (TNR) program, nationwide, or trial it in a selected state.

Proper, consistent TNR and proper controls on protecting habitat would work in the long run. Killing cats is a knee jerk reaction and cruel. Aussies should remind themselves that their forbears created the feral cat. This creates an obligation to deal with them in a truly humane way.

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2 thoughts on “Australian authorities favor the rat and hate the cat”

  1. When a country decides that dumping thousands of tons of industrial waste onto the Great Barrier Reef will do no harm to the reef and the enormous eco-system it houses, it’s hard to be surprised that they are now going to persecute and kill (horrifically if history and current practice is anything to go by) the poor feral cat.

    Australia has some very ignorant brutes in power.

  2. The myth about cats being good rodent control has been disproved on every island where cats were imported to take care of the imported rodents. Hundreds of years later and there’s nothing but a thriving population of cats and rodents — all the native wildlife on those islands now either extinct or on the brink of extinction — even those native species which are better rodent predators than cats (such as many reptiles and shrews which destroy rodents right in their nests), the cats having destroyed them directly or indirectly.

    Australia is rich with snakes that will be more than happy to take-up the slack where cats failed to keep rodents under control.

    You sure don’t know much about ecology and biology, do you Michael. No wonder the world laughs at you.


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