I had never heard of the word ‘nativist’ until Nathan Winograd used it. It is good one when used to describe the Aussie attitude to feral and stray cats. Nativists believe in nativism which means, “the political policy of promoting or protecting the interests of ‘native-born’ or established inhabitants over those of immigrants, including the support of immigration-restriction measures.”
Clearly it mainly applies to the political scene but Winograd used it to describe Aussies who want to protect small native mammals, marsupials and reptiles from invasive feral cat predation. Nativism is favouring home grown things over imported things or native species over non-native species.
The feral cat is non-native to Australia. Australia has no cats other than domestic, stray and feral. There are no other species of cat on that large island.
The Aussies are so into nativism that they literally hate the feral cat, which is on the island in large numbers because of, wait for it: Aussie carelessness! The feral cat problem which gives nativist Aussies a massive headache is self-imposed. They are the authors of the problem but they talk about the feral cat as if it came down to earth in a space craft. Heard of the phrase. ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’? Well, the Aussies think it rains feral cats.
So rather than use their considerable energy and skills to do the right thing and deal with feral cats humanely (not a word in the Aussie dictionary) they decided to kill them as fast and as inhumanely as possible. Anything goes from poisoning to taking pot shots with rifles.
And woe betide owners of domestic cats who allow them to go out unsupervised as they might never come back. Taking a pot shot at a feral cat at fifty yards is problematic in many ways one of which is that it might be someone’s beloved pet.
FYI – Aussies are also into speciesism in a big way. They are far more anti-feral cat than they are anti-wild (feral) dog. Dogs kill native species but I have never heard of the mass slaughter of Australia’s feral dogs. Hell, the dingo was originally a feral dog. Every aspect of the Aussie attitude towards feral cats is questionable.
Nathan Winograd says this about Aussie nativism:
After already killing millions, the Australian government is once again “declaring war” on cats, releasing a draft action plan that includes allowing people to shoot cats for recreation; killing cats themselves; killing cats using sadistic and cruel methods like suffocation, toxic gel, and introducing disease; and, imposing a curfew on cats and killing those found outside during the curfew. When nativists — self-proclaimed “conservationists” pursuing a “native species” agenda — call for killing cats, they are not motivated by saving birds or wildlife. Instead, they are motivated by a hatred of cats, as killing cats is sadistic, unscientific, hypocritical, and unworkable. It is also cruel to children and harms cat caretakers. Tragically, nativists don’t care that their actions cause “profound human suffering.Nathan Winograd
He makes a good point about the killing of cats being cruel to children and cat caretakers. It does harm people who care about cat and animal welfare. The ones who care have to live with the ones who don’t care about the pain they cause the cats they kill. It is not nice living in a country where there is a lot of animal killing going on in the background be it feral cats or kangaroos which I understand are shot in the hundreds of thousands to supply the golf glove market and other luxury leather goods.
In neighbouring New Zealand, they famously enrolled kids in a competition to shot the highest number of feral cats. That’s emotionally damaging children.
As for restricting domestic cat ownership in Australia this comes down to keeping domestic cats indoors at all times or at least confined to the home and front and backyards. Fine but what happens is that the doors are locked and that’s that. There is no attempt to enrich the sterile indoor environment from the cat’s perspective. They become abjectly bored and sometimes ill for a range of reasons such as obesity and stress.
This is anti-cat. From an outsider’s perspective Australia is anti-cat like the UK is anti-car. Did you know that the whole of Wales has a 20-mph speed limit in urban areas. The car is finished in Wales and the cat is finished in Aus.