The hunters of Victoria, Australia are disappointed that they can’t hunt feral cats and the authorities in this state are confused about shooting feral cats. They declare the feral cat a pest which would normally allow sport hunters of any kind to shoot at them as they shoot at foxes, wild dogs and rabbits.
However, they realise (and this is the first time I have seen them openly admit it) that it is impossible to distinguish between domestic and feral cat visually particularly at a distance. The admission was made by Lily D’Ambrosio the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Control.
As there is no law confining domestic cats to their owner’s homes, domestic cats in Victoria wander around outside. If shooters were allowed to shoot at feral cats it would be certain that they’d shoot pet cats as well and the authorities – the lawmakers – cannot promote the commission of a crime; the crime of shooting someone’s cat companion (this is a multiple crime).
Therefore in a confused state as to what to do they have allowed government department and agency staff and their agents to shoot the cats! How this makes any difference is beyond me. They’ll be shooting the odd domestic cat but it’ll be government employees and agents doing it rather than non-government employees. Same difference.
Victorian Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP Daniel Young said:
“Hunters are a valuable asset and it is silly not to be able to use their resources and skills to control these wildlife killers.”
Yes Mr Young but you are ignoring the fact that your hunters will occasionally be shooting sweet domestic companions and not rampant wildlife killers. Many domestic cats hardly hunt and they are someone’s legal property.
The Australian authorities go around in endless circles trying to figure out how to deal with feral cats without accepting that the only way forward is a comprehensive TNR policy which would allow them to distinguish between feral and domestic cats. It’s the only way because you have to scan for microchips and to do that you have to trap the animal which is part of the TNR process.
Of course it will be much slower than shooting cats but it will be effective in the long-term, legal, safe and humane. You are going to have to bite the bullet guys and accept it. You’re in a mess of your own making.
P.S. The state of Victoria, Australia is the only jurisdiction in the world as far as I know which classifies the feral cat as a pest. The law is almost meaningless because they can’t identify feral cats. It’s like saying you can drive on A roads at 70mph without specifying where the A roads are.
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