New Zealand journalist loves domestic cats and wants to shoot feral cats. Crazy?

Patrick Gower is mixed up in my opinion. He has a Wikipedia page so he has some influence. And he supports the North Canterbury hunting competition in New Zealand which attracted so much criticism recently as it entailed kids of 14 shooting at feral cats that could be domestic cats. Other animals are in the firing line such as stoats, possums and rats. There are prizes for the most animals shot. It is teaching kids the wrong things and it exposes the attitudinal problems of New Zealand’s leaders. They’ve changed the rules to try and avoid domestic cats being shot. But the grown-ups are educating children to believe that it is okay to shoot animals. This ignores the issues of sentience and speciesism.

RELATED: New Zealand’s junior school kids love to shoot cats for prize money

Partrick Gower
Partrick Gower. A confused man on the issue of feral and domestic cats. Image:
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

They’ve tweaked the rules to only allow adults to shoot feral cats! This doesn’t really change things. It changes the ‘optics’; it looks more acceptable to the news media! They’ve also introduced rules to minimise the risk of domestic cats being accidentally shot.

One outspoken person in favour of the shooting competition is Patrick Gower. He says some bizarre things about feral and domestic cats.

He said, for instance, that ““over time we are going to come to learn that even though feral cats and domestic cats are the same species…they are incredibly different beasts.”

The only difference between feral and domestic cats is socialisation which domesticates feral cats. That’s a fine difference as all feral cats can be socialised as adults. They are the same species and they are not incredibly different. They have different characters, one acceptable to humans and the other not.

It is not as black-and-white as Gower says. There is a spectrum of types of feral cat. It is not like flipping a coin. Some feral cats are semi-domesticated. Or semi-feral. They’ll be community cats. These cats are a short period of socialisation away from being domestic and a family pet. Some of them want to be homed. They sometimes walk up to the back door of homes and ask to be let in to become part of the family.

New Zealand kids shooting feral cats for prize money
New Zealand kids shooting feral cats for prize money. Image: MikeB

Gower would rather allow New Zealanders shoot these cats for fun. He is demonstrating his ignorance I’m afraid.

The methods in place to protect domestic cats from wandering into the firing line of the shooters are inadequate. There is still a risk of shooting someone’s pet.

Will Appelbe​ from the animal rights group SAFE (Save Animals from Exploitation) said they still believed there was a significant risk of a pet cat being killed during the sick event.

“I highly doubt these people are carrying microchip detectors, it’s just not plausible,” he said. In other words, the competitors won’t be able to tell the difference for sure, which is not good enough.

But Gower, rather blindly said that he has no concerns that a pet will be shot. What does he base that thought on? You can’t tell the difference between a pet cat and a feral cat at the distance that they’ll be from the shooter.

Gower said:

"I wouldn't be supporting it [the shooting competition] if I did. If in the minimal possibility that there was a domesticated cat caught up in this it would be an absolute disaster in my view. The last thing I would ever want is for someone's family pet to be caught up in the crossfire. I love family pets. I’ve owned many cats, I love cats.”

The man is confused. If you love cats you have to at least have empathy for feral cats and be sensitive to their plight as humans through their carelessness created them. Gower entirely misses this critical point. And as stated there is a risk of killing a domestic cat. Gower is unable to digest this inedible fact.


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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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