Stop the banning of cats in Randwick, Sydney!!
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The newly appointed Mayor of Randwick has proposed that all cats are locked up inside for good.
Her council are to establish a committee to consider measures including:
- Keeping cats inside and confined, especially at night;
- Higher registration fees; and,
- Penalties to owners for allowing their cats to run free or defecate in public places or neighbouring properties
Why is this a crazy idea?
I am a Research Fellow, and as such, believe strongly in the use of sound evidence to guide policy. I am therefore perplexed about this proposal for several reasons:
1. There is not enough firm evidence to quantify the impact of pet cats on wildlife. Unlike feral cats, pet cats are more likely to remove individual animals already weakened by disease, injury, starvation or old age. Progressive countries focus on managing feral cats, not domestic cats. In addition, cats control vermin, such as rats and mice (and their associated diseases) - reducing the use of poisons in our environment.
2. A 10-year study in Perth showed that native flora and fauna were more affected by urban development and the removal of trees than by pet cats.
3. Indoor cats are more prone to conditions such as urinary infections, obesity, diabetes and behavioural problems.
4. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ states, “The RSPCA doesn’t recommend keeping a cat that is used to going outside, as an ‘indoor-only cat’, unless it is for health reasons.”
5. Pet rescue homes are already inundated with unwanted pets, and are underresourced - they will face further pressure as cat owners will have to surrender their loved pets.
6. Additional capacity does not appear to be accounted for including the wardens, the administration and associated costs. Who is to pay for this enforcement?
7. An outright 'ban on cats' is a form of extremism. There are alternative solutions which are just as effective such as designated reserves as wildlife protection zones with subclauses on cats, confining cats at night time, ensuring a bell is attached to their collar etc.
8. Today, humanity faces what I would call more pressing issues - many of which must be tackled at a local level, including domestic violence, waste disposal, climate change adaption and mitigation, food insecurity, population growth etc. If there is genuine concern about the health and survival of native wildlife, I would suggest the focus is on pests, such as vermin and myna birds.
Please sign his petition if you want the Mayor to focus her energies on these more threatening issues.
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