New Zealand's veterinarians have decided that there is a need in their country to take a serious look at the growing cat population which they say requires urgent action.
I'm pleased to read that they wish to take a humane and scientific approach to what they describe as cat management. In addition, they stress that the focus must always be on responsible cat ownership.
In addition there needs to be an all-encompassing, holistic approach from local and national government in order to achieve real results. I think we can see that when there are ad hoc, piecemeal changes made to legislation it doesn't work very well.
The president of the New Zealand Veterinary Association, Mr Merchant, states that "a strategy to address our growing stray cat population is long overdue, and must include a clear focus on responsible cat ownership."
What Mr Merchant is saying is in stark contrast to what was put forward not so long ago by a NZ scientist who recommended that in effect there should be mass killing of unwanted cats in New Zealand. That provoked outrage from many people. Killing cats is not the answer. It is simply a reaction. The much better method is to prevent the creation of cats through responsible cat caretaking.
What New Zealand's veterinarians are saying really apply to other countries because they have the same problems. I'm a firm believer that the time has come to create an alternative culture and attitude towards the ownership of the domestic cat. For a very long time there has been a laissez-faire attitude which has resulted in too many unwanted cats.
The focus as Mr Merchant says must be on highly responsible cat ownership and there has to be a coordinated approach at various levels of government including animal control organisations in order to reduce the numbers of unwanted cats humanely while at the same time reducing the supply of unwanted cats through better ownership.
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