New Zealand is desensitizing its kids to animal sentience and causing animal pain

OPINION AND COMMENT PLEASE NOTE: Like other animal advocates I am disgusted and shocked at New Zealand’s attitude towards feral cats and the desensitisation of New Zealand children towards causing pain in animals, to ignoring the sentience of animals, in this notorious and controversial annual competition in North Canterbury in which children and their parents shoot dead animals for a prize including feral cats of which 340 were shot this year.

I remember reporting on this last year (click the button above) and there was uproar then because children below the age of 14 were shooting feral cats for fun as encouraged by their parents and it was seen as being highly inappropriate and I recall the rules being changed to prevent these kids shooting feral cats for the reasons I state in the above paragraph namely that it desensitises them to the sentience of animals and the pain they cause. This cannot be good education.

New Zealand's indoctrination of kids into ignoring animal sentience
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Summary of the controversy last year

There was controversy last year surrounding the North Canterbury Hunting Competition in New Zealand. Organizers encouraged children to participate in a cat-killing competition, where they were rewarded for killing feral cats. However, this event faced backlash from animal rights groups and concerns that pets could be accidentally harmed. As a result, the feral cats section of the competition was canceled. The Department of Conservation clarified that distinguishing between feral and domesticated cats is virtually impossible, making such competitions risky. Animal welfare organizations advocated for education on humane practices rather than organized killing events. The situation highlights the challenges of balancing pest control with animal welfare concerns.

The latest report in The Guardian newspaper (July 2nd, 2024) does not say that children are prevented from shooting feral cats. I presume that they are now being indoctrinated into the belief that it is perfectly appropriate to cause pain and suffering in animals unnecessarily. Incorrect? Please report. The reporting is unclear.

This is an update. The Times reports that 440 children under the age of 14 participated in this bloody competition. And almost 400 cats were killed. More than 1500 people participated. The Times reports that “One man dispatched 65 cats to win the NZ$500 first prize in the weekend competition for the largest number of cats killed while the biggest dead cat won its trapper NZ$1000.”

The Times

The organisers make no excuses and say that they ignore criticisms because for them is just a normal way of country life. They expect their children to grow up with that mentality and accept the need to kill animals with rifles. Good education? How can the world improve animal welfare with this backward attitude?

An animal rights group was at the event this year: Animal Save Movement. They were approached by young people dressed in animal costumes with the words “Animal Slay Movement” printed on them. It was a cynical, sarcastic counter-action to that provided by the animal rights activist. They don’t care. As I said, they are indoctrinated into believing it’s okay to cause pain and suffering in animals.

The organisers say they put in place protections for the people and that they can tell the difference between feral cats and domestic cats at the distance very easily. That is incorrect to put it politely. It comes from a man called Bailey who is an organiser.

Apparently, they trap the feral cats first and then shoot them with a .22 rifle in a cage. Charming. And hunting is restricted to areas outside of any residential areas. All this is to ensure that they don’t kill domestic cats! But then Mr Bailey said that it is okay because you can tell the difference between them. Why then do they restrict the hunting to areas outside of any residential areas? It’s because you can’t tell the difference between feral cats and domestic cats at a distance as I said. Someone’s stray domestic cat is going to get shot dead. That’s criminal damage. A crime.

Mr Bailey says that when feral cats are caged, they behave like “the devil on methamphetamine.”

Any cat caged – domestic or feral – by aggressive people are going to behave in a very agitated way. I admit that feral cats will behave in a more agitated way but you can’t be sure of the difference between feral and domestic cats using this method.

We know the reason why they shoot feral cats: to protect native species. And it’s a laudable objective. To New Zealanders their native species are very precious as is the case in Australia. But there must be a better way of protecting their native mammals and marsupials. This is glorifying in the killing of feral cats which have been placed in that invidious position and lifestyle through the negligence and carelessness of human beings.

It is New Zealanders being very blind and ignorant to be perfectly frank. But there’s no telling them. If anyone of them reads this article they’ll just laugh. They will think that I am quite mad. Mr Bailey said that he is “not too worried about people who don’t understand, and not too worried about their feelings.”

Yes, I get that. But it has to be said that you are also unconcerned about the pain and distress you cause animals which to me is far more important. And you’re teaching your kids not to give a damn about animal sentience and about the back story to the feral cat problem in New Zealand which always comes down to human behaviour.

Shame on the organisers. To any decent-minded and educated person this North Canterbury feral cat and animal pest shoot is objectionable and unacceptable.

Just over 1,500 people took part in the North Canterbury event this year, with roughly 440 of those under 14 years old.

The Guardian newspaper

In the North Canterbury hunting competition, animals other than feral cats are also hunted. The event involves various species, and participants may target different game animals. However, the specific list of animals can vary depending on the competition rules and local regulations

1 thought on “New Zealand is desensitizing its kids to animal sentience and causing animal pain”

  1. This is why Australia/NZ was once my dream vacation but “Never More” I wouldn’t visit NZ and Australia if the tickets were free! They have so many feral cats because of human indifference to spaying and neutering and abandoning their cats in the bush!


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