Just when you thought our country’s leaders couldn’t be more out of touch. Animal Justice MP Mark Pearson yesterday suggested phasing out livestock is more important than stopping feral cats.
Pearson weighed into the cat debate after the Federal Governments planto humanely trap and euthanaise a third of Australia’s six-million feral cat population by 2020 was released.
In a Facebook post discussing the move, Mr Pearson said “we need to stop demonising” the pest that kills, individually, 1000 animals per year – including threatened birds, lizards, and mammals.
“The sad truth is that the deaths of all these cats will achieve nothing other than pain and suffering.”
“Within a few years the surviving cats will breed up and the numbers will return to pre-existing levels.
“There will still be plenty of existing agricultural land available for plant-based agriculture.”
Mr Pearson also repeated calls for the estimated six million feral cat population to be whittled down with desexing and fertility control programs.
Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews said the cull would not target pets.
“They are the single biggest threat to our native animals, and have already directly driven out of extinction 20 out of 30 mammals lost,” Mr Andrews said.
“We have got to make choices to save animals that we love, and who define us as a nation like the bilby, the warru (Black-footed rock-wallaby) and the night parrot.”
The SMH report said about 211,000 cats were culled last year, including dozens in Kosciusko that were preying on mountain pygmy possums, and others preying on bilbies, bandicoots, numbats and night parrots in remote and arid Australia.
At a NSW budget estimates session last year Mr Pearson said cats roaming the bush weren’t feral, but “free-living” – and deserving of equal consideration to the native wildlife they prey on.
Mr Pearson said desexed feral cats, once re-released, could prevent new feral cats hunting on their turf before gradually
dying out – “a win-win rather than a kill-kill”.
NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair rubbished the idea.
“The problem I have with the trap-neuter-return policy is that it does not address the impact that cats – free-living, feral or whatever you want to call them – have on wildlife populations, particularly native wildlife populations,” Mr Blair said at the time.