There seems to be a kind of culture that approaches that found in China with respect to the stray cat or indeed feral cat. This culture seems to have been promoted or even generated by a long term and on-going campaign by government officials who have claimed that the poor maligned stray cats and feral cats of Australia are responsible for the death of millions of native wild animals. A reality check indicates that this is not the case. Here are a few facts that come from a very reliable source, Sarah Hartwell (unless otherwise stated), who was assisted by http://www.catassist.org.au:
- there are pro and anti feral and stray cat camps. I sense that the anti camp is winning because of government backing (my view)
- there are no accurate figures on the numbers of stray cats and feral cats in Australia. This fuels guesswork and alarmist assessments. The figure is, apparently, between 3 and 30 million.
- an influential survey carried out in 1994 by Dr David Paton claimed that cats kill 3.8 billion animals and birds annually. A vast number. But this survey, which may be etched in the minds of some Australians, has been found to be lacking in objectivity (Dr. Paton disliked cats) and accuracy. It is, in short, misleading. More birds are killed by cars than cats in Australia (survey result not guesswork).
- another study of 1994 (by Reark research for Petcare Information and Advisory Service) confirmed that cats preferred hunting introduced wild species (rabbit and mouse) rather than native Australian species thus debunking the claim that precious native species are being slaughtered by cats.
- habitat destruction by people is probably the biggest killer of native Australian wildife (my view)
- it seems that a considerable percentage of vets are also against the feral and stray cat. Witness the case of Possum who was shot 27 times and the owner couldn't find a vet to assist until after 4 tries a kind a decent vet did assist. (see Worst Case of Cat Cruelty) -this is my view and not Sarah Hartwells.
- Ms Hartwell supports my view that wholesale shooting of feral cats is inhumane and it doesn't work either. (see Ground Shooting of Feral Cats and the Vacuum Effect). She also supports proper, humane and organised action using TNR techniques. The Australians seem incapable of accepting this. It isn't, it seems, in their nature as it would take a long term approach and a concerted approach.
- all the signs are that, generally, as an electorate, Australians are hostile to Stray cats.
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