Well, this is awful. The Australian Government announced on July 16 that they plan on killing off their feral cats by 2020.
Claiming that feral cats are the “single biggest threat” to Australia’s mammals, Gregory Andrews, the country’s Threatened Species Commissioner, told an Australian radio show that, “Of the 29 mammals that we’ve lost to extinction, feral cats are implicated in 28 out of those 29 extinctions. It has been a problem that’s been neglected. So feral cats have spread across our country over the last 200 years.”
The government funding of the five-year plan will largely go toward killing Australia’s feral cats, whether by baiting, shooting or poisoning, with promises that these killings will be carried out in a “humane and effective” manner.
“We are drawing a line in the sand today which says, ‘On our watch, in our time, no more species extinction,” Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt said at the plan’s unveiling at the Melbourne Zoo.
The problem of feral cats is, no doubt, a legitimate one. Earlier this week, Tyler Flockhart, a wildlife ecologist from the University of Guelph, attached radio collars on a number of feral cats as part of an effort to find ways to help deal with Canada’s expanding cat population.
Flockhart noted euthanasia of those cats that aren’t adopted out of shelters isn’t popular with the public (nor does it seem humane). Shane Bateman, a veterinarian and chair of the board of the Guelph Humane Society, agrees.
“A good scientific look at history would tell us that that model just simply doesn’t work,” he said.
However, it seems that Australia doesn’t agree, or just doesn’t care. Nevertheless, it will be a devastating five years for the feral cats in Australia.