New Zealand: man who trapped and drowned eight cats thought he was doing the right thing

ANALYSIS AND NEWS – WARNING: this content may upset some people so please don’t read on if it does. I’m writing about it because it does illustrate how a nation’s culture with respect to a certain aspect of their life can sometimes result in unacceptable and unpleasant consequences.

In New Zealand, as is the case in Australia, there is a general dislike of feral cats and there is also an underlying culture of the need to get rid of them no matter how. Under this umbrella of an anti-feral cat mood, a worker at a rendering plant near Dunedin thought he was doing the right thing when he trapped and drowned eight cats during his night shift. We are told that they were feral cats but how do we know? They don’t discuss this in detail. One or some of the cats may have been domesticated and someone’s pet.

New Zealand poll about dealing with unwanted cats
New Zealand poll about dealing with unwanted cats.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The man, Donald MacDonald, said in his defence that his boss wanted the cats “gone by the end of the week” and his employer bought two traps for the purpose. Where this man went wrong was how he disposed of the cats. In New Zealand you can trap feral cats and can kill them but you’ve got to do it them humanely. That would imply that you can only kill them by taking them to a veterinarian where they are euthanised. This surely must be a big barrier to people like Donald MacDonald who simply want to get on with the grizly job.

Because Mr McDonald drowned the cats he committed a crime in New Zealand; causing the cats unnecessary pain and suffering. He was convicted of animal cruelty and fined NZ$2000 and ordered to pay reparations of NZ$610.

Feral cats appear to be regarded as pests in New Zealand. Three of the cats were pregnant. Andrea Midgen, the SPCA chief executive in New Zealand, said that drowning animals as a method of euthanasia was cruel. Comment: It is not euthanasia. It is killing animals. She urged people to think about how they were going to deal with the animals after they trapped them. Perhaps the government should provide better guidelines. Mr MacDonald thought that drowning cats was a humane way to exterminate them. Like I said, perhaps the government should do more to educate people. And that education should include information on spaying and neutering cats because, as mentioned, three of these cats were pregnant. Perhaps they were genuine feral cats and not unspayed domestic cats but their presence is obviously symptomatic of an irresponsible approach to cat ownership.

The story is an example of a dysfunctional relationship between human and cat.

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