Animal rights activists angered as New Zealand campaigner wants to kill cats
KUALA LUMPUR: Anger is on the rise in New Zealand after a man announced a campaign that wants to kill the country’s cats in an effort to “preserve” native wildlife. The move has led to an outcry of frustration among campaigners and animal lovers in the country over the move.
Leading the charge is Gareth Morgan, a businessman turned philanthropist, who has called for New Zealanders to give cats the exodus. He has cited research showing the average cat kills at least 13 native birds or animals each year.
But it isn’t going over well for others, who have told Bikyanews.com that the idea is “ridiculous” and the government should rethink any potential campaign to kill cats.
“It is ridiculous. Humans are the number one killer of native wildlife through hunting and other encroachments on native land, so the idea that cats are the problem is simply insane and stupid,” said Thomas Bertan from Auckland.
He added that “we should look at ways to ensure areas of the country remain untouched by human activity instead of going after cats.”
Morgan, however, said the figure was unacceptable in a country where many bird species had already been wiped out and 37 percent of those that remained, such as the flightless kiwi, were endangered because of introduced predators.
Morgan, best known for helping to ship a stray Emperor penguin dubbed Happy Feet back to Antarctic waters after it washed up near Wellington in 2011, said cat owners should keep their pets indoors and not replace them when they died.
“Naturally, I’m not suggesting you go out and knock your furry friend on the head right now,” he wrote in the Dominion Post newspaper Wednesday.
“But if we are serious about conservation, then we must acknowledge that we are harbouring a natural born killer.”
Morgan’s campaign has not gone down well in a country where a 2011 survey by the New Zealand Companion Animals Council showed almost half of all households own a cat, one of the highest rates in the world.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) executive director Bob Kerridge said Morgan had no right to tell people they could not have cats in their family.
“I say to Gareth Morgan, butt out of our lives,” he told television station TV3. “Don’t deprive us of the beautiful companionship that a cat can provide individually and as a family.”