Economist Gareth Morgan in New Zealand wants to see cats go, or disappear in other words. He is encouraging people to make their current cat, their last cat.
Gareth Morgan has launched a campaign called, ‘Cats to Go‘ to help eradicate domestic cats. On the website he writes, “That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer. Every year cats in New Zealand destroy our native wildlife. The fact is that cats have to go if we really care about our environment.”
Why the push to get rid of cats? Morgan says, “Cats are incredibly effective hunters and are wiping out our native birds. New Zealand is the last refuge of a huge range of bird species, we’re famous for our claim to be clean and green, and some of us have recognized the huge economic benefit, let alone the ecological dividend, from achieving a Predator Free New Zealand.”
Given that in New Zealand, people own more cats per capita than most other parts of the world, it’s very unlikely that Morgan’s campaign will make it very far, rather be seen as a cat hater. On Morgan’s website, 70 percent of people voted against making their current cat their last.
SPCA chief executive Bob Kerridge called the campaign “hare-brained and offensive”. He understands Dr Morgan wants people to stop buying new cats and to not replace pets when they die, but says, “People consider cats to be a member of the family. So he’s trying to, quite frankly, take away the civil liberties we all have to choose who we want in our home.”
Kerridge added that SPCA surveys have shown that fewer than half of New Zealand’s domestic cats killed other animals, and those that did, caught far more rodents than birds. “Gareth Morgan is way out of line because very few native birds fall at the hand of cats, domestic cats,” Kerridge told the NZ Herald.
Morgan has suggested other ways to reduce the impact cats have on native bird populations in New Zealand. “I am advocating responsible pet ownership, not for people to bop their pets on the head. To me a responsible pet owner has their cat neutered, keeps it well fed and indoors as much as possible, and puts a bell on them.”
Morgan’s site claims that the average household cat will bring home 13 pieces of prey each year. A video also makes other claims, such as: “Some cats will kill over a thousand birds each year,” “Every year, hundreds of millions of birds are murdered by cats,” “Cats torture their victims slowly and without mercy,” and “Cats are serial killers, cold and without compassion.”
In the video, research shows that “if you put a small animal next to an eating cat, it will pause, kill it, then return to its meal.” But in the study quoted on the website, it states that of 44 subjects, 26 did not attack the prey (more than 50 percent), and many who did kill presented defensive postures.
Scientific evidence is still unclear if it really is the cats that are wrecking havoc on bird populations. Some studies suggest that cats actually help by keeping rodent populations down, which feed on the bird eggs.
In a 2011 survey done by the New Zealand Companion Animal Council, they found that 48 percent of households in New Zealand owned at least one cat, which is significantly higher than any other developed nation. The survey put the total cat population to be at 1.4 million.
For comparison in the U.S., according to a 2012 survey by the American Pet Products Association, 33 percent of households own at least one cat for a total of 86 million domestic cats.
New Zealand overrun with cats: Anti Cat Campaign
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of cat ownership in the world, and at the same time the slackest and most irresponsible laws dealing with cat control. In fact there are no laws.
Cats kill an estimated 27 million birds annually here in New Zealand, which is over half a million per week, or roughly 75000 per day.
We here in NZ have not yet learned that, when we chose a cat as a pet with the intention of letting it roam free, we are making an important moral decision that will impact the lives of many of our fellow creatures.
KEEP OUR CAT INSIDE AT ALL TIMES.