A couple of Kiwi sport hunters, Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk, have set up a website which includes a competition to shoot what they describe as ‘wild cats’ (this must be a reference to feral cats). It is called the Morgan Score after Dr Gareth Morgan who recommended that New Zealanders eradicated feral cats. He, by the way, does not condone the competition as it promotes a vigilante style shooting spree against cats outside the home.
And there lies the big problem, other than the fact that it is cruel. I have checked the law on shooting cats in New Zealand and it is not straightforward. However, feral cats are not listed as ‘game’ in the country and therefore can’t he hunted as game. They are not listed as pests either. My understanding is that if a known feral cat (unowned cat) is on someone’s land and the landowner grants permission to a hunter in writing, the hunter can shoot the cat.
The big issue is that a hunter may find it difficult to be certain that he is shooting a feral cat. If the cat is owned (i.e. a domestic cat) the shooter will be committing the crime of criminal damage and animal cruelty.
The website owners completely disregard the fact that they are promoting the causing of excruciating pain in an animal. That does not enter their heads. They openly admit that feral cats are ‘tough’ and hard to kill with a bullet. They recommend a high performance rifle with a scope using a .204 to .22 bullet. And hunting a night is preferred. It goes without saying – but I’ll say it – that you can’t shoot cats without causing a lot of pain and suffering. This is not instant death; a form of euthanasia or humane killing.
Hunters are incredibly arrogant. They have an unshakeable belief that humans are special and superior to other animals. They are not. In the press today there is an article referring to a study about dogs and how they are more able to read our emotions than vice versa. The same probably applies to cats although cats are asocial hunters while dogs have developed better social skills as they live in packs.
To flippantly suggest that hunters should participate in a cat shooting competition in the interests of New Zealand wildlife is crass behaviour. It is unpleasant and it cannot be condoned in a civilised country.
There are no genuine ‘wild cats’ in New Zealand. Therefore the reference by Slater and Lusk to ‘wild cats’ must be to feral cats. But as mentioned you can’t have hunters wandering around the countryside taking pot shots at cats at a distance. Unless you are miles away from home owners who may have a cat companion, you might end up killing someone’s pet, slowly and in a cruel and gruesome manner. You’ll be in trouble with the law if law enforcement is at all interested, which is far from certain.
The laws governing this situation are:
- Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 2015
- Wildlife Act 1953
- Wild Animal Control Act 1977
- Conservation Act 1987
- and possibly others.