Legislation to make TNR illegal in Australia

Legislation to make TNR illegal in Australia

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Edward Pritchard started this petition

The Australian Capital Territory (A.C.T.) is the only Australian jurisdiction where the cat management program trap, neuter, return is legal. This shocking fact has been revealed by ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-21/feral-cats-released-in-canberra-at-odds-with-cat-containment/100754100

The idea is to trap a wild, feral or unowned cat, remove its sex organs and release it back into the wild, in parks or industrial sites. Wherever the cat is trapped, it is released back to that area. The philosophy or assertion that the cat can continue living, but with restricted breeding, reducing clowder sizes over time. (a clowder is a group of cats)

The obviously failed principle here is directed at the welfare of the feral or unowned cat. Whilst the Environmental Ministers of all states and the Federal Minister for the environment have a duty to protect native animals. These two principles are diametrically opposed.

Owned cats, otherwise known as companion cats, are protected by legislation. Native animals also are protected by legislation, and to pursue a TNR strategy in Australia works against both companion cats and native fauna giving rights to an invasive species. Feral cats and semi-feral are a designated 'pest'

Unowned cats that are released become semi-feral and if adoption is not possible, euthanasia is the only solution. All parties involved is cat management follow a strict ethical code to avoid animal stress.  

RSPCA Australia believes that physically healthy and behaviourally sound companion animals that are suitable for adoption should not be euthanized. The RSPCA reluctantly accepts that in certain circumstances, euthanasia of an animal is unavoidable due to health behavioural or legislative reasons. 

On specified Crown lands in Victoria, cats (feral or wild) are a declared established pest species under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. This declaration came into effect on 26 July 2018. This is an example of all states except ACT.

Releasing feral and stray cats into the wild is banned in most of Australia, but in the ACT a program called trap, neuter, return (TNR) is placing them back onto the streets. This imported practice is flawed and runs counter to the science.

In every other state and territory, various laws, including biodiversity acts, make it illegal to release an invasive species — like a cat — back into the environment. But the ACT allows TNR.

As a member of the ACT Greens Party:  Rebecca Vassarotti MLA is the Minister for the Environment; Heritage, Homelessness, and Housing Services; and Sustainable Building and Construction.

In her capacity as Minister of the Environment, she has a duty to protect indigenous wildlife. Advancing the cause of cat activists, no matter how emotional and genuine they are about animal welfare allowing TNR is not only irresponsible, it is dangerous. The science about TNR is no longer debatable, it can only be ignored.

By signing this petition, you are calling on the Federal Minister for the Environment to legislate against TNR.


  • Safeguarding indigenous fauna and companion cats from disease and predation.

  • Believing we have a responsibility to the environment, we are confronted with choice. We cannot choose both ways.

  1. Either, we decide for logical, commonsense and science. By signing this petition to make TNR an illegal activity in Australia

  2. Or we decide emotionally against signing this petition and accept or condone reintroducing feral and unowned cats back into the environment is OK.


This petition should not be a source of tension between cat owner and everybody else. Companion cat owners who are concerned for the welfare of their pets would also want to protect the environment and indigenous fauna. 

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