NEWS AND COMMENT (Opinion): Will you be as disgusted as I am having read this article? I hope so as it is a failure in child care and inherently cruel. It is about asking kids to engage in potentially criminal activity. It is that bad.
The North Canterbury Hunting Competition of New Zealand has been raising funds for Rotherham School in a “beloved community event and fundraiser” for quite some time. In 2022 there were 900 participants of which 250 were in the junior category (below the age of 14).
Grim and grisly shooting competition with sentient beings as the targets
It is a shooting competition. The participants can be young kids. They shoot all kinds of animals including feral cats. They have to shoot as many as they can. The child who kills the most feral cats is awarded a NZ$250 cash prize. They also shoot possums, ducks, hares, rabbits, rats, foxes and geese.
Immoral thought processes
The organisers were unconcerned about shooting animals except feral cats. They are not concerned about shooting feral cats for humane reasons. They are not concerned about young kids shooting feral cats for prize money because they are going to cause sentient beings lots of pain. No, they are concerned because the kids might end up shooting someone’s pet because at a distance you can’t tell the difference between a feral cat and a domestic cat. That should have occurred to them before they started the competition but no.
So, the organisers of the annual North Canterbury Hunting Competition have announced that the category for the most feral cat kills will be withdrawn following a backlash on social media. Yes, the backlash upset them as it included “vile and inappropriate emails and messages sent to the school and others involved”. That’s another reason why they stopped the feral cat shoot. Not a good reason really as they should have realised the problem from the get-go.
Indoctrinating kids and a potential crime
The organisers don’t see anything wrong with indoctrinating children below the age of 14 with the idea that shooting animals for fun is bad. They see this as completely normal, natural and acceptable. They have withdrawn feral cat victims from the competition because they are worried about being sued, I suspect. It’s probably a purely commercial decision. And to shoot a domestic cat in New Zealand would also be a crime under their animal cruelty laws.
Animal welfare charity ‘Safe’
This charity told a media outlet iNews:
We should be teaching our tamariki [children] empathy towards animals, not handing them the tools to kill them.
Some of the kids will be using air rifles. Therefore, the chance of a domestic cat being injured by an air rifle but surviving is almost certain. In fact, a North Canterbury cat died from sepsis after being shot with an air rifle presumably fired by a child.
Although it’s unclear whether that death was linked to the competition it doesn’t make a difference to me because once you encourage kids to shoot at feral cats you’ve gone down a very dark path from which it is very hard to turn back because kids are learning that it is okay to shoot animals for fun.
The cat that got sepsis was handed in by a member of the public but the owner is yet to be located. The cat was micro-chipped and desexed.
A spokesperson said that the shooting demonstrated that the use of an air rifle can cause unnecessary pain and distress. But what about a .22 rifle at a distance injuring a cat severely? That also causes pain and distress before death. The arguments by the organisers simply do not stand up to scrutiny.
When the feral cat category was introduced, the local people accepted it completely. In fact, they praised it. Since then, some have changed their mind.
An SPCA spokesperson said that the charity was “extremely concerned” about the competition (the shooting of feral cats part, not the rest of it). How many domestic cats have been shot by kids in the past in this competition?
Reactive – just not workable
Rather cynically I would stay, the organisers of the junior competition tried to circumvent the problem of shooting feral cats by stating that if anyone turned up with a shot feral cat which had been micro-chipped, they would be eliminated from the competition. Great. How does that work? A child has shot a domestic cat. The damage has been done. You can’t take reactive measures on something this important. But clearly the organisers thought it was okay to be reactive.
Both New Zealand and Australia have a terrible relationship with feral cats. They regard them as pests and vermin and they demand that they are eliminated anyway possible. They don’t mind being cruel and they don’t mind conveniently brushing under the carpet the fact that the feral cats have been put there by people through their negligence. That is an inconvenient truth which is never mentioned by these people.
The organisers said this:
We are disappointed and apologise for those who were excited to be involved in something that is about protecting our native birds and other vulnerable species.
Comment: this is speciesism and killing one species in a cruel way causing immense pain and distress to protect another. Can’t be moral. The kids were ‘excited’ to be shooting at animals.
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