Mass Killing of Feral Cats Would Be Illegal

In New Zealand and Australia, and in many areas of North America, there is this constant battle between two opposing forces: those that wish to trap and kill feral cats to eradicate them and those on the other side of the fence who wish to pursue the more humane policy of TNR.

Killing feral cats is impractical

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The simple point that I wish to make in the short article is that it would be illegal to conduct mass feral cat killings and therefore it is completely impractical to discuss the matter. In addition, there is increasing evidence to suggest that, when carried out properly, TNR works well. The problem is that TNR is simply too slow for politicians who make decisions about the law because they are into quick fixes. Their careers are based upon seeing results and they do not have the patience or time to see TNR working.

The reason why the mass killing of feral cats would be illegal is because as the SPCA spokesperson, Mark Collyns, in New Zealand, said:

“If we rush out killing every cat that someone wants killed, six out of 10 will be someone’s loved pet. That’s nowhere we want to go.”

If local authorities authorise animal control to trap and kill feral cats in large numbers they will inevitably be killing, at some stage, domestic cats who have strayed or even outdoor cats who are relatively unkempt and therefore have the appearance of being feral cats. Once a fully domesticated and owned cat is trapped they often become aggressive and can quite easily give the appearance of being feral.

If the authorities trap and kill someone’s domestic cat they are committing a crime and the owner has a right to see that crime prosecuted and to receive compensation in the civil courts under the tort of conversion or under a court order in the criminal courts.

Pets are someone’s property under the law. We know that. If someone stole your Mercedes and crushed it, you’d complain to the police and seek compensation from the perpetrator. It is the same for cats but worse because cats are sentient beings.

It could be chaotic with pet owners suing the local authorities in group actions (“class action complaints”). If there were obligatory microchipping, that would clearly help identify domestic cats but there are very few places where microchipping is currently obligatory under the law.

As mentioned before, on numerous occasions, not only would the mass killing of feral cats be impractical for the reason stated above, it would be ineffective because we all know by now that when you kill feral cats other feral cats turn up and enter the space that becomes vacant.

It is time to stop talking about trapping and killing feral cats and turn to the only solution that we currently have, which is properly conducted TNR.

In Wellington, New Zealand, Cats Protection League said that a well-managed colony of feral cats in Johnsonville demonstrates that TNR was effective as feral cat numbers are slowly decreasing. It would seem that the Conservation Minister Maggie Barry does not fully understand the purpose of TNR. It is to reduce numbers humanely, albeit slowly. I think she sees it as feeding feral cats as she can’t see rapid results.

Slow progress in reducing feral cat numbers is perfectly acceptable when we bear in mind that the increase in numbers has also been a slow process. It takes time to rectify long-standing problems. Patience is required together with a humane and sensible approach.

17 thoughts on “Mass Killing of Feral Cats Would Be Illegal”

  1. Michael, you forget to mention that the pet owner can be fined and convicted under all laws that define animal-neglect, animal-endangerment, and animal-abandonment. Many times facing long sentences of incarceration on top of it. It is not those that kill the companion-animals of others that are committing any sort of crime (look to any animal-shelter that is forced to destroy a cat when the owner does not retrieve it in a timely manner, they commit no crime at all), it is the pet-owner who committed the crime in the very first place. If your cat dies because you were criminally-negligent and criminally-irresponsible with an animal under your care, you not only deserve to lose the life of your pet but be punished for doing so as well.

    • The article is about the authorities eradicating feral cats by shooting them. There are other articles which deal with irresponsible cat ownership and there are other articles dealing with preventative measures. So I have not forgotten to mention animal neglect or neglectful cat ownership.

  2. Because TNR has been practiced in the UK for over 40 years now (the birthplace of this concept), and it has reduced cat populations so much that you never have to ever kill any stray cats. When in fact more and more people are calling for the culling and eradication of cats even in your own country now.

    I think the only reason that you dwell so much on what other countries are doing about overbreeding invasive-species cats is that you can’t face what is happening in your own backyard and is therefore your very own fault. You can’t face-up to the problem that YOU created and your very own failure in solving it.

    • BTW … pal. I think TNR’s work everywhere if given a chance. I support what they do and I have nothing but respect & admiration for them. You may want to educate yourself a little better. And read what I was saying before you flap those lips next time. Because I consider all countries the same…they need to implement these polices. If people took responsibility and spayed & neutered their pets would be great. TNR’s are awesome and should be everywhere!!! And to those that do an outstanding job..and go out and feed these poor strays/ferals and make sure they get water/food. They are saints!!!!

      • A half of a century practiced in the UK with no end of excess cats in sight proves it is a total failure. And apparently, they practice more TNR than any other culture on earth. Even they can’t solve it with their TNR. Self-deceptive and delusional doesn’t even begin to describe this.

        • You are writing a lot of codswallop as usual. In the UK we hardly ever see feral cats. Feral cats are not regarded as a problem as they are in some other countries. Yes we do practice TNR but it is hardly discussed and there are no real pressing issues involved in the UK regarding feral cats.

          Stop calling people delusional and deceptive. If I see those words used by you again I will delete your comment.

      • Just so you know, I have just banned him (Woody) again for about the 80th time! Sorry that he insulted you. I have deleted the insult that I have noticed.

        • Thanks amigo!!! I kind of figured it was him again…He is a imbecile and imbeciles will always be just that. Frankly the only way they’ll never learn to do it. is one day…someone ends up kicking their ass for real. I wouldn’t ever feel sorry for them…because they’d deserve it.

          • I dream about it! I’d love to meet him. I have offered to meet him. He did not take up the offer. I couldn’t guarantee that I wouldn’t end up hitting him 😉 .

    • When in fact more and more people are calling for the culling and eradication of cats even in your own country now.

      This is blatantly incorrect. I’ve never heard about that in the UK. Stop making things up. I’m going to ban you because you’re just too stupid, biased and rude.

    • Sorry to contradict, Galen. But, the birthplace of TNR was Washington County, Oregon, U.S.A.
      The U.K. really never has, nor does now, have the serious issue with ferals that we have.
      But, Australia and NZ are so ignorant not to know that they will never be able to eradicate ferals in total, and that they need another approach like TNR.

  3. “IF” anyone, did anything to a family member of mine (YES .. I consider them family). They’d be sorry!!!! I’ve lost too much in my life to allow “that” to go unpunished. For the most part I’d want them to be safe and I’d keep them indoors to protect them. But…if they were to get out by accident and some s*** hurt or killed them. That person would pay…and I don’t mean financially.

      • If you feel that is what I am….too F***ing bad. If some douche hurt a family member of mine (I don’t care if the family member wasn’t actually human or not). I consider “pets” as not just a pet….but family! Then “anyone” who willfully hurt or killed them…would be sorry! An eye for an eye..a tooth for a tooth.
        I don’t believe it’s an ok thing to kill strays or people’s pets. Anyone who hurts or kills them…needs to see a similar fate.


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