Ban the importation of cats into Australia.

Prevention is better than cure and this adage should apply to the importation of cats into Australia. Cats must be prevented from entering Australia from other countries because they remain the single most destructive introduced species in the country. Continued importation will result in the destruction of more native wildlife.

This article relates to the importation of new cats – cats that have never been to Australia before, and not to cats from Australia returning from overseas with their owners.

Feral cats threaten at least 124 Australian species which are in danger of extinction, and cats are a major reason that Australia has the highest rate of native mammal extinction in the world – not per capita – outright. Attempts to reduce this destruction are ongoing and include feral cat eradication, stray cat control, de-sexing and domestic cat containment. These methods all carry their own complications, but banning the importation of cats into the country is surely the least complicated strategy.

It’s simple. Tell every Australian and every international visitor that it is not possible to import a cat into the country. No exceptions. If Australians insist on having a pet cat, they can source one from inside the country.

Cats can currently be imported into Australia from other countries under various conditions. Cats from locations such as New Zealand and Norfolk Island do not even need to serve a period of quarantine, provided they have been approved as healthy in the place of origin.

According to the Department of Agriculture, people can bring cats into Australia without even obtaining a permit, provided the cat is coming from a country such as New Zealand and the exporter signs a Statutory Declaration that:

  • identifies the cat by breed, sex, age and microchip number.
  • verifies that the cat has been continually resident in New Zealand since birth or direct importation from Australia, or for the 90 days immediately before the date of export if the animal has been imported into New Zealand from any other country.
  • verifies that the cat is not derived from a domestic/non-domestic hybrid.
  • verifies that if a female cat, the animal is not more than 40 days pregnant or suckling young at the time of export.

These conditions ensure that the animal does not bring diseases into the country, but ignores the fact that cats have the potential to cause enormous damage to Australian wildlife once they arrive – no matter how healthy they are. In fact, it could be argues that a healthy, active, agile cat is more able to hunt and kill wildlife.

Cats from other countries must spend a minimum of 10 days at an official post-entry quarantine facility and arrive with an official permit.

All of these measures carry associated costs, and bringing a cat into Australia is very expensive. If Australians are determined to spend money on animals, they can adopt a koala or donate to many of the organisations dedicated to the care and protection of Australia’s native wildlife. After so many native animals were lost in the 2019/2020 bushfires, now is a perfect time to contribute to the protection of Aussie animals.

Various strategies are currently employed to protect wildlife from cats.

Feral cat eradication

Feral cat eradication programs continue throughout the nation, with limited success. Feral cats occupy an estimated 99.8% of the Australian continent, can weigh up to 9 kilograms and have directly contributed to extinctions of more than 20 Australian mammals. The destruction continues because feline species are excellent hunters and are intelligent and thus hard to trap. They exist in many inaccessible areas and current eradication methods are not working well enough. It is thought there are more than 6 million feral cats roaming the country, and importing more cats into the country potentially adds to this number.

Stray cat control and elimination

Stray cats are no one’s responsibility. They roam urban and rural areas, killing native wildlife. They were all once domestic cats, or the litter of domestic cats.

Domestic cat containment

Most cat owners are responsible.

False.

Statistics disprove this theory. A small percentage of owners keep their cats inside or provide an enclosed cat run in which their cats can play while outside the house. Many allow their cats outside during the day, where they are still able to kill. Others argue their pets are allowed only as far as their own garden, but even in a private garden, a cat can and will kill native wildlife. Most pet cats are allowed to roam free and kill with impunity, and importing cats into the country creates more pet cats and more potential killers.

De-sexing

Many cat owners think de-sexing is enough. In many cases, de-sexing simply allows owners to absolve themselves of responsibility for the destruction their pets cause. Even a de-sexed cat will kill many native animals during its lifetime if it is allowed to roam freely.

Banning the importation of cats into Australia will not solve the cat problem. It will, however, limit the number of cats in the country overall and will support existing efforts to reduce the deadly impact of Australia’s most destructive introduced species.

Image: Jae Park

Safe Injecting Space Planned for Mackenzie’s Bay.

Drug addicts will be able to legally consume any form of illicit drug at Mackenzie’s Bay after Waverley Council declared the beach an open-air safe injecting space.

Hard core junkies, professional footballers and recreational users will be free to inject, sniff, snort, smoke or imbibe any illicit substance they chose with complete impunity, and police and Rangers will take no action against any person within the signposted designated area of Mackenzie’s Bay and Gaerloch Reserve.

Council alluded to dog owners in explaining the rationale behind the shock decision.

“Dog owners claim that they should be allowed to take their dogs to Mackenzie’s Bay because they have been breaking the rules for years anyway,” stated a spokesperson for Waverley Council.

“Drug users have also been illegally consuming drugs for years, so they should be allowed to use the bay as well. We really owe a great deal of gratitude to dog owners for opening our eyes to the possibility of creating a safe and non-judgemental space for people to enjoy their drug taking,” continued the spokesperson.

Council recounted how owners have given their dogs free rein over the space and enjoyed the lack of regulation that is applied to other beaches within the municipality, and that local residents will be elated to learn that drug users will be extended the same privilege.

“We are also confident that tourists flocking to the coastal walk will be delighted to see a beach full of drug addicts enjoying the lovely bay. It makes a great backdrop for a selfie.”

Council has subsequently been forced to reverse the current alcohol ban on all of its beaches, because alcohol is also a drug. As a result, residents are advised to leave footwear on at all times to protect their feet from shards of glass, and to take gloves and rubbish bags to pick up other people’s waste after alcohol-fuelled celebrations.

Bemused residents oppose the move, and argue that the presence of drug users will detract from the experience of the public who want to use the beach. They also pointed out that used needles, bongs and other drug paraphernalia will be left on the beach.

Council reminded residents that dog droppings and plastic bags have been left on the beach for years, but this hasn’t forced Rangers to enforce the rules which prohibit dogs from the beach.

“Furthermore, as one owner told us, anything left behind at the beach will eventually be washed into the ocean by the tides. Dog faeces is already harming marine life and fish, as well as posing a health risk to swimmers at Mackenzie’s and Tamarama, so a few needles and traces of meth won’t make too much difference.”

Image: http://www.frugalfrolicker.com

This article was first published in The Beast magazine, November 2020.