Friday 5 May 2023

Domestic and feral cats are a political hot potato in New Zealand

OPINION: Do you remember the recent furore over the competition for New Zealand's schoolkids in which they had to shoot feral cats with either an air rifle or a .22 calibre rifle (or any other calibre I guess). The competition was pulled because of press coverage and the fact that there were fears that the children would be shooting people's pets because you can't tell the difference between a domestic cat and a feral cat at the kind of range you would be at when shooting at them with a rifle. 

RELATED: New Zealand’s junior school kids love to shoot cats for prize money.

NZ pest controller holds feral cats. This is cruel and unfair on cats.
NZ pest controller holds feral cats. This is cruel and unfair on cats. Image: The Press.

Shooting domestic cats in New Zealand is a serious crime. The organisers were asking kids to commit a serious crime! Thoughtless comes to mind. But the Kiwis have a cruel attitude towards feral cats as is seen in the photos above. It is identical in Australia. The mindset is inhumane and in my honest opinion immoral and crude. It is the kind of mindset which generates the idea of the competition mentioned in the first para.

The idea of the competition itself was ridiculous and it should never have been proposed. But the problem is that animal lovers and animal advocates saw the madness in it and criticised the organisers online and social media. There were some tough criticisms even death threats I believe. And on the other side of the fence, there are those who supported this kind of competition. Society is split on feral cats.

The website reports that:

"Several organisations contacted by Stuff said they had views they’d love to share regarding feral cats, but couldn’t do so for fear of being 'personally abused' or 'targeted by crazy cat-lovers'".

You can see the problem. The issue of domestic cats becoming feral cats and feral cats killing wildlife has become a political hot potato in New Zealand as is the case in Australia. It is tricky for a politician to please two factions with such diverging views.

And the article on say that the numbers are scary. They said that there is an estimated 2.5 million wild and feral cats in New Zealand. Note the word "estimated". They don't know how many there are. If you don't know how many there are they can't say it is scary! You got to have the facts to hand.

And the same problem goes for estimating the number of native species killed by feral cats in New Zealand. They don't know the numbers.

What annoys me is that journalists like the one who wrote the article don't know the facts. No one does. They are all estimates. But they regurgitate them as if they are facts.

The first thing that the New Zealand's authorities need to do is to work out accurately how many feral cats there are in New Zealand. They need to get a handle on the problem. They need to stop speculating.

And the competition I refer to above basically indoctrinates children to hate feral cats. And it might be fair to say that if they hate feral cats, they are going to at least dislike domestic cats and the owners who have them. After all, domestic cats are the source of feral cats.

I don't think it is wise and sensible or indeed fair to indoctrinate children like this. It's important to protect New Zealand's native species of course but you can't do that while being cruel to feral cats which were put there by careless cat ownership. The root cause of the problem is people. The cat is the innocent victim in all this.


  1. I was shocked when I read about this competition which is basically teaching children to kill. I realize that this is common in families that hunt to provide meat for their families. When the children in these families don't want to kill animals, they face cruelty and punishment from within their own family, especially from the fathers or other male members who think that this is part of becoming a "man".

    This can damage a child in so many ways, including rejection and hatred of himself as a male, which can further lead to a desire to change sex, as seen in more and more males who transition to female.

    There must be a better way!

    1. Totally agree. There is no need today for Kiwis to shoot animals for any reason in my view. If they want to kill feral cats it should be in a humane way and it is impossible to do that with a .22 rifle at 50 yards.


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