Plan to kill two million feral cats criticized

Posted Sep 8, 2015 by Tim Sandle
Australia’s plan to cull two million feral cats has been criticized by the singer-songwriter Morrissey. Morrissey has compared feral cats to Cecil the lion.
Morrissey  supporting the freedom of cats
Morrissey, supporting the freedom of cats
Morrissey, as well as being a musician, author and one time leader of The Smiths, is also a passionate animal rights activist. The British singer said the Australian government plan to cull feral cats is “idiocy,” drawing parallels with Cecil the lion, noting the life of one cat should not be regarded as any less than any other.
Quoted by The Guardian, Morrissey said: “We all know that the idiots rule the earth, but this is taking idiocy just too far.”
He also raised concerns about the proposed method for the kill, noting “The cats, who keep the rodent population under control, will be killed in a ferocious manner, using Compound 10/80, which is a gut-wrenching poison of the most unimaginable and lengthy horror.”
Compound 10/80 (sodium fluoroacetate), is a organofluorine chemical compound used as a metabolic poison, especially for the elimination of animals. The chemical is also lethal to humans. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, sweating and confusion. Death is caused by heart failure or lung collapse. Australia has used the chemical for animal controls since the 1950s. The brand name to be deployed is called Curiosity; perhaps because the toxin is in the form of bait and perhaps the creators found the saying "curiosity killed the cat" amusing.
The issue began after Australia’s environment minister Greg Hunt referred to feral cats as a “tsunami of violence and death,” regarding the population as out of control and posing a threat to other wildlife. The reportedly threatened wildlife is mainly ground-nesting birds and small native mammals.
A target has been set to wipe out 2 million feral cats, from an estimated population of 20 million, by the year 2020. The cost of doing so is 4.1 million Australian dollars.
Feral cats are domestic cats born in the wild with little or no contact with humans. The cats are not "socialized" in a way a domestic cat would be. A feral cat is not the same as a stray cat, which has had some human contact. To deal with feral cats, some countries run trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs. Here cats are captured, neutered, vaccinated and returned to the wild. The process of neutering deals with the population numbers over the longer term.
According to NME, Morrissey also launched a stinging attack on the Australian government, pointedly saying: “The people of Australia would never agree to this - but of course they will not be consulted, because the Australian government as ruled by Tony Abbott is essentially a committee of sheep-farmers who have zero concerns about animal welfare or animal respect."
In response, the Australian government has issued a statement saying the cull is said to be part of a “new national approach.” An excerpt, published by The Daily Mail, indicates:
“The Threatened Species Strategy is a plan for how we will prioritise effort and work in partnership with the community and state and territory governments over the next five years.”
The statement goes on to add: “Australia is a country rich in unique plants and animals. They are core to our identity, culturally significant to Indigenous peoples, important to the health of our environment and a strong contributor to our economy. Our distinctive plants and animals are a gift and ours to protect.”
Adding to Morrissey’s concerns, Brigitte Bardot has written an open letter to the Australian government, describing the cull as “inhumane and ridiculous.”