For any cat lover, an entire area without cats seems like the worst idea ever. But in a bid to protect native animals, that’s exactly what a regional council in New Zealand has proposed to do. Environment Southland wants to implement a cat ban in order to improve the environment and bird life in the area.
But don’t worry, they won’t be taking pets away from their owners. The ‘pest plan’ suggests that all domestic cats in the Southland region are to be neutered, microchipped and registered. Residents can keep their cats – but once their cat dies, they won’t be allowed to get another one.
Banning cats could improve the region’s wildlife
New Zealand is currently working on an ambitious initiative to become completely predator-free by 2050 – with an aim to wipe out certain species of rate, stoats and possums. Cats also came under the spotlight purely because of their target upon native birds.
John Collins, a member of the Omaui Landcare Trust, said in the Guardian: “We’re not cat haters, but we’d like to see responsible pet ownership and this really isn’t the place for cats”. The group claim that the environment and bird life in the area would improve dramatically.
Gareth Morgan, an economist who is now a parliamentary candidate, described cats as ‘natural born killers’ – and has suggested that cats should be wiped out of New Zealand completely.
But some local residents aren’t happy
A local called Nico Jarvis claims she is currently planning a petition against the cat ban. She says her cats help to tackle a serious rodent problem in the area. “If I cannot have a cat, it almost becomes unhealthy for me to live in my house,” she said, “it’s like living in a police state. It’s not even regulating people’s ability to have a cat. It’s saying you can’t have a cat.”
Cat lovers on the Facebook page of a non-profit animal group called Paw Justice seemed angry at the proposal, pointing out that there is a multitude of factors, which damage native species, such as cars, poisons, and humans themselves.