In what appears to be an off-the-cuff remark, Maggie Barry, New Zealand’s conservation Minister suggested that households should be restricted to a maximum of two cats. She claims that an excessive cat population in New Zealand was endangering the famous, flightless bird, the Kiwi.
New Zealand is apparently the place where you will find the most cat obsessed people. They have the highest rate of cat ownership of any country (says the Times reporter). Almost half of households in New Zealand own a cat. A 2011 survey found that 20% of households had one cat and a further 20% own two or more. In Australia 23% of households have cats.
About 40% of New Zealand’s native land bird species are extinct. Of the remaining species 37% are endangered. Conservationists believe that the domestic cat is the major threat.
Maggie Barry’s suggestion might have upset the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, who by all accounts is a cat lover. His cat is named Moonbeam. Mr Key said that Moonbeam loved him unconditionally. Those are the words of a person who loves cats!
Mr Key hastily dismissed Miss Barry’s idea as her personal views. They are not government policy he has said.
“Some people are going to have lots of cats and some people are going to have few. The government isn’t going to limit the number of cat people can own.” He said.
Miss Barry’s has praised the Prime Minister’s care of Moonbeam stating that he employs what she described as “best practice”. By best practice she means that Mr Key was careful to lock Moonbeam inside each night so that she would not hunt native birds and otherwise life. Do you think that is best practice?
We know that, in New Zealand, stray, feral and outdoor domestic cats are a contentious issue from the point of view of native wildlife species conservation. You may remember not so long ago Dr Morgan expounding the concept of mass slaughter of all feral cats in New Zealand. Australia also has considered this extreme policy (many times!).
Dr Morgan has described Wellington’s native bird sanctuary as “the most expensive cat food factory in the country.” The Prime Minister has apparently told Dr Morgan that his cat would never harm a bird.
In response Dr Morgan invited the Prime Minister to offer up his cat for autopsy. He suggested that if there wasn’t any feathers inside Moonbeam he would buy a new cat for the Prime Minister! I think that suggestion was either made in jest or if it wasn’t it confirms what we think about Dr Morgan’s views on cats.