Will the new Thames Coromandel District Council and Community Board members be forced to confront the controversial issue of the management of cats?
This seems highly likely after the National Cat Management Strategy Group’s final document proposes –
- restrictions on the number of cats allowed to be kept on a property, and
- nationwide mandatory microchipping of cats.
The Wellington City Council has led the way with a new bylaw requiring the mandatory micro-chipping of cats. But if the Group’s recommendations are adopted by central government, then many new powers will be given to local authorities to control cats in their district. Like it or not, local Councillors will then have no choice but to decide what by-law restrictions they place on cats locally.
Wellington has been the fortunate recipient of a bequest which has enabled the local SPCA and the Council to heavily subsidize a short-term program of micro-chipping and desexing of cats.
Of course there will be some who see any such restrictions as a cat-astrophe ! Maybe they should check out this excellent infographic on how your favourite little furry moggy is in fact a killing machine of native birds and other wildlife.
Others such as Professor Brett Gartrell, who is the co-director of New Zealand’s only dedicated wildlife hospital, Wildbase at Massey University, says the Groups’ strategy won’t reduce the impact of cats because it fails to deal with the vexed question of feral cats and the SPCA’s policy of “snip and release”.
Personally, although I am an avid cat lover, I’m with Prof Gartrell. Cats are an introduced species, and not Gods to be worshipped as the Egyptians did. The new bylaws will only be effective if it mandates :-
- a comprehensive program to trap and kill feral cats and
- requires the SPCA to end its half-baked policy of desexing un-owned cats and releasing them to continue their killing spree of our native species.
These policies seem to have strong public support. 38% of New Zealanders surveyed would make their current cat their last to save native wildlife, and 80% oppose the SPCA policy of snip and release for strays.
This article was originally published by me on Bill Barclays Blog