Stasi-style cat curfew in Adelaide slammed by Brian May

Adelaide, South Australia, has introduced a cat curfew law which requires cat owners to keep their cats inside between 9pm and 7am the next morning. The idea is to stop domestic cats preying on Aussie wildlife. For the Australia authorities this is a headache which they have struggled with for years, which has been made worse by the wildfires which killed an estimated 1 billion wild animals (see article on Aussie karma).

Photo of May: Getty, Photo of cat: iStock.

Enforcement difficulties

The Adelaide council realise that it is impossible to effectively enforce this local law so they are relying on the residents of Adelaide to do it for them by providing them with cat traps which allows them to trap wandering felines at night. It sounds like East Germany during the communist era to me when the Stasi relied on citizens to spy on each other and become state informants of dissidents. It was highly repressive.

Problematic relying on neighbours to spy on each other

To rely on neighbours to enforce a law such as this is going to cause neighbour disputes and cat abuse. It has failure written all over it. Although the council say that people will be instructed on how to use the traps. What happens after the cats are trapped? If the cats are not microchipped how will they know who owns them? Will they be taken to a cat rescue where they might be euthanised? And when cats are trapped they become frightened and agitated. They can harm themselves trying to get out. Will the trappers come back to the trap quickly to avoid self harm? I can see negligence claims springing up. It is a catalyst for litigation.

Brian May of Queen fame and an animal advocate has slammed it and he wants residents to fight it. For me, one problem is that a good percentage of Australian citizens object to wandering domestic cats and feral cats. May said:

What miserable bastard thought that one up? A law like this would give the worst elements of society Carte Blanche to abuse their neighbours’ pets.

He could say the same about the Aussie’s mass killing of feral cats. The RSPCA has also voiced their concerns about cat traps being used by the public.

Unfortunately we see too often…animal cruelty related to the use of traps.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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