It is widely perceived by outsiders that the governments of Australia and New Zealand believe they have a problem with feral cats killing native species and that they want to kill feral cats to protect their wildlife. The news reports are consistent; both these countries are in the process of killing feral cats and searching for ways to kill them more efficiently while protecting other animals. Poison (1080) is their current favourite. But anyway will do including shooting. Australia is worse than New Zealand in my assessment.
Some people love cats, others are ambivalent and a third group dislike cats. The attitude of these governments encourages people who are ambivalent about cats or who dislike them to kill cats themselves.
And this is where things go wrong. At a fundamental level under the animal welfare laws of Australia and New Zealand it is a crime to cause pain and suffering to animals. Their animal welfare laws are very similar to those of any other advanced nation.
The killing of feral cats en masse by these governments is essentially a crime under their own animal welfare laws because it causes a ton of suffering. However as they are the government they are above the law concerning this particular objective. But if a New Zealand citizen kills a cat because they’ve been encouraged to do so by the government they are liable to be prosecuted for a crime.
This is where a recent story comes in from the New Zealand Herald who report that a bunch of teenagers in a car appear to have deliberately driven it over a pregnant cat, Lilly.
The girlfriend of Natalie Smith son owned Lilly. Smith said that she was outside her home at 9:30 am when the pregnant tabby cat was at the bottom of the driveway under a friend’s car.
A gold Subaru came around the corner and hit Lilly. The car came back and the occupants gave the finger to Smith as she was picking up Lilly’s body. Smith believes that the accident was deliberate because the teenagers returned to gloat.
There is no hard evidence that the accident was deliberate and certainly there is no proven connection between the behaviour of these kids and the declared desire by the NZ government to kill feral cats. However, a link is possible. The destructive attitude of federal and local governments to feral cats is dangerous with regard to maintaining law and order.
The point I am making is that it is quite plausible that a government can subtly change attitudes towards feral cats which in turn can lead to crimes against cats and other animals in the worst situations which otherwise would not have happened.
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