As Prime Minister it’s time for you to be more assertive in defence of New Zealand’s native fauna. As your own Minister of Conservation has pointed out wandering cats are a significant threat to the Kiwi now (let alone the carnage they’re causing with other species) and have to be controlled. Much as you’re in love with Moonbeam you need to decide whether you’re just another Bob Kerridge with callous disregard for New Zealand’s native fauna, or whether you support responsible cat ownership. It looks like you actually don’t give a damn about what wandering cats are doing.
New Zealand is well behind other countries like Australia on this issue now and seems to be really struggling to find leaders to do the right thing. The issue is not about whether people should have cats or not, it is about whether we should allow their cats to wander about killing our native species at will, spreading toxoplasmosis and annoying other property owners.
The solution is simple – manage cats the same as we do dogs. Responsible cat ownership should imply confining the animal on the owner’s property 24*7. Citizens who are increasingly concerned about our native fauna should be encouraged to humanely cage trap wandering cats, surrender them to an authorised repository that then tests whether they’re micro-chipped. If so they should be returned to their owners (at full cost recovery at least); if not they should be euthanized.
Currently citizens have no rights with these pests, and the SPCA is utterly negligent and of no help whatsoever. We have unfortunately the worst SPCA in the world in New Zealand and they actually release cats believing that as long as they neuter them, all will be well. It is an unbelievably unintelligent position they’ve taken and the simple biological arithmetic of cat reproduction indicates to be successful a neutering programme of wandering cats would have to have 90% coverage to have any impact. Our SPCA can’t even afford to neuter 5% of wandering cats.
Courting popularity with those who don’t care about the imminent extinction of our kiwi is not ultimately an election winner I suggest. The destruction that wandering cats are causing amongst our native fauna – while councils and government waste money on conservation – is the height of hypocrisy. Your Minister of Conservation is telling you about the hypocrisy and all you can muster is some wet line about the government not killing cats.
You’re not even well briefed. Cats are being destroyed every day, the issue is we should be preventing that necessity by enforcing responsible ownership, just as we do for dogs. A government that allows cats to wander while pretending to have environmental values is a joke, the NZ Veterinary Association is calling for micro-chipping, registration and disposal of non-registered cats, and there wouldn’t be one serious conservationist in New Zealand who would endorse cats wandering.
This is not a question of euthanizing Moonbeam, it’s a question of keeping the bloody thing to yourself so its faeces are your problem only and its killing practices are contained.