Australian government declares war on feral cats

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zosterops
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Australian government declares war on feral cats
jason

Well its a start, can only hope it snowballs.  

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Woko
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Just as the federal government gets into gear on cats we were visited by a sneaky, big, black fluffy one today. This clearly demonstrates just how perverse cats are. I am plotting my revenge so that I can play my part in Australia's anti-cat culture. 

GregL
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This report shows how feral animals are just a distraction from the real conservation issues, and how the government can spend paltry sums while ignoring the real issues. The real problem is humans, and we need to reduce human impacts if we want to help our wildlife. This means less farmland, less development, less mining and less roads. More national parks and reserves, more resources for protecting habitat. Of course all this is too difficult and too expensive for governments, restricting peoples right to degrade the environment and buying back land that is unproductive anyway. No government wants to spend big dollars in the vast outback where voters are few and far between, and guaranteed to vote for the National party anyway, even when it agrees to dig up the Liverpool plains. feral animal campaigners give the government a handy way to look as though it is doing something, while ignoring the real issues.

It is the arrival of humans that was the real catastrophe for our wildlife, and unless we can face up to that and try to reduce our impact politicians will always be using ferals and other excuses to avoid taking real action to help the environment. I know ferals have caused a lot of harm but by campaigning against ferals you are just giving the politicians an excuse for not taking real action to protect the environment. I really wish you would channel your rage where it can really help.

Woko
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Well argued, Greg.

I agree that governments will seize on issues like feral cat control in order to distract attention from habitat protection & restoration. For me, the reality is that we need an integrated approach which includes habitat protection & restoration, feral animal & feral plant eradication.However, I see no reason why governments can't chew gum & walk at the same time. That is unless they're completely incompetent.

And fear not, my rage is frequently channeled at numerous ministers in numerous governments about the issue of habitat destruction. Only today I received a two page letter from the Sunshine Coast mayor trying to unconvicingly justify why Yandina Wetlands should be destroyed to make way for an industrial estate.

Devster
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Would love to read what you wrote to them Woko as well as their response.

I was thinking of writing to them but have no experience in these matters so I have no idea what to wright.

Woko
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Hi Devster. I'd love to be able to tell you precisely what I wrote but my submission was sent on the Sunshine Coast website & there was no box to tick if I wanted a copy sent to  myself.

Anyway, when I write to authorities I

  • get my expectations as accurate as possible. Usually, I don't expect that my letter alone will achieve the action I'd like to see taken. Rather, I write hoping that others will have also written & that the authority will be sensitive enough to see that there are many people who think along my lines & that acting to wreck the environment is electorally unwise
  • spend some time thinking about precisely what I want to say so that what I write is as concise as I can make it & doesn't take up the authority's valuable time
  • try to start my letter by mentioning a positive environmental action that the authority has taken in the past
  • refer to the source of my information about the threat to the environment & say that I hope that this information is inaccurate but....
  • refer to any similar situations where acting against the interests of the environment has resulted in unforseen damage to the economy, a community, a neighbourhood etc
  • often make the point that acting to address the environmental issue at hand is good for our economy because our economy depends on a healthy environment
  • sometimes refer to the importance of biodiversity in maintaining economic health
  • make it clear, where appropriate, that my family & I won't be travelling to the area where environmental damage has been committed or is about to be committed
  • sometimes let my anger get the better of me & use ridicule to get my point across. However, sometimes ridicule can have a positive impact where the authority is sensitive enough to see that the environmental damage proposed is just not on. Being able to discern when ridicule is likely to be effective is a work in progress for me

As well, I often sign on line petitions sent to me by various groups such as the Wilderness Society & Getup.

I hope this is useful, Devster. We each have our own styles of writing but the important thing is for people to write so that there's a pile of emails or letters on the authority's desk giving a clear message that protecting the environment is the way to go.

jason

I'll add, if you fill in an online letter, cut and past it to a word doc for your own records before you submit it.  Some sites send you a copy of your letter with their acknowledgement, others don't.  If it's an email just cc to yourself.  

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Woko
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Good ideas, jason. Thanks.

Night Parrot
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Well done Woko. We should never underestimate the power of the pen. If it does nothing more than prick consciences I think it is worth doing. Better than silence because to authorities silence means assent (or disinterest).

I prefer writing letters over using website letterboxes; I think email letters are too easy to pigeon-hole and forget about. I also like to copy to other interested parties, like state planning/environment ministers and local members. Its an extra cost in stamps but one letter can serve extra purpose. I also "bounce back" straight away if the responses are less than adequate. Follow-up letters are a particular pain to authorites.

Letters to Editors also have good effect, but of course its not always easy to get a mention.

Woko
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Even if your letter to the editor doesn't get a gurnsey the trend of public opinion will be noted. Of such are the headlines made.

Similarly, politicians employ staffers at great expense to the tax payer to take note of public opinion. Where no opinion is expressed the politician & his/her party are free to pursue their own ends. One of the chants during the protests against the invasion of Vietnam was "silence is consent", as you indicate, Night Parrot.  

Night Parrot
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Woko
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A variety of methods is excellent. Because of the leakage of domestic cats into the environment through neglect, dumping, owners on holidays etc. we also need an anti-cat culture in Australia which would involve such things as requirements for pet cats to be kept in runs, microchipping, plain packaging of cat food with warnings on labels about threats to wildlife, the banning of cat food advertising, the local availability of cat traps & high taxes on cat food & cat accessories.

jason

Hmmm some nice ideas there Woko, we are are a long way from most of that sadly for nature.  50% at best is all one will ever get one's side, seems to be the magic generalised stat for humans to side on.  But I'd vote for it.  

I still don't see why genetic DNA single sex modification doesn't get mentioned more.  Loose feral cats getting around breading only males has to greately reduce numbers easily and be cost effective. To me baiting does seem so human, let all around them suffer because thay are too scared to affect their own world with genetically modifing cats, due to fear of domestic kitty being harmed. Fear of negative spin from cat food companies, cat lobby groups, and looking like the Gov is pushing around the people will see lots of other animals die instead of the human inconvienance.    

We can put faces of children born with out faces, transplant all sorts of organs, limbs, and deliver almst 100% of babies.  But to get a cat to shoot only males......nup.  Funny ol world.   

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Woko
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It is a funny old world as you say, Jason. Lots of talk at the moment about protecting endangered species & the environment but still no really serious action from those with the big power. However, the dents being put in the horrific plans for the Carmichael coal mine suggest that there are occasions when some of the power can be taken from the Earth wreckers.

jason

indeed Woko, lets hope it's just not China not wanting our coal is the reason we are not buldozing the place bare.  

but on cats

It does seem councils, people, and governments are slowly getting a riggle on with cats.  My council requires cats must be registered and kept on the owners property at all times. This is a chuck away statement unless they are kept indoors or in an outdoor enclosere.  I am aware council have made dog owners build a fence if they wish to keep the pet, or remove it from the premises,  or surrender it to the council.  So with enough complaints and pressure the same outcomes will eventually apply to cat owners.  Seems fair and just to me.

Our council has a generic note neighbours can use to subtley make a cat owner aware their pet is roaming, hopfully avoiding negative disputes. They also allow the public to catch roaming cats and take them to the appropriate centre without issue to be dealt with. This of course creates issues after the fact one has shown their hand on the roaming cats however  But still at least it's allowed legally.

I see the other day wih my new nature lover mates after we had just finished planting out a creek bank, old black and white pussy was down for a scourage around to see what was on offer.  If the cat is registered than in theory I could make a complant and hopefully council gives them three options.  Killl it or remove it from site, spend some money on it and build an enclosure, or keep it inside and deal with the realities of cat ownership.  So things are moving slowley, but it's anyones guess if the cat os registered in the first place.

I almost could not beleive my ears when I heard the proposal for a 24 hour curfew was raised by the Federal Gov.  But before the tears of joy could start I hear that has been declined.  A real shame and blow for native animals.     

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Woko
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It's certainly a slow process, jason. My problem with slow processes in relation to the environment is that by the time the processes reach their ideal conclusion with. for example, the elimination of cats from Australia there will be little wildlife left. Can our environment & its wildlife wait for slow processes to reach their conclusions? Or do we need speedier direct action? Or do we accept the massive loss of wildlife?

jason

I agree Woko, and can relate to slow unfortunately. Had a meeting with the good council regarding some regen work on a creek in park lands the other day.  The apporach was slowly slowly, start small and build up, don't take on too much. Start in the biggest clump of weeds next to the water in full sun, and in a year or two or possibly five when those plants have made it, I cold move onto the edge of the weeds and the park land and repeat the whole process.  After that period, repeat the process for a third time moving into the park land.  I don't think I have that much time or persistence, and that would have to be one of the hardest ways of going about it.  If that's the approach to cats then nature will certinally run out of time especially with humans burning the other end of the candle.

Lucky for me it was only a suggestion of what "they" would do, I'm doing something different.  If I fail for unforseen reasons using local natives, I'm sure the park lawn mowing contractors will take it back to ground 0 in the blink of an eye. So the outcomes are clear.

Like you say Woko, with the current extinction and threatened species rates of our wildlife, we don't have the time.  We need sensible but ambitious targets that have big results for minimal effort, and cost. We need a war time effort on feral everthing really. But perhaps the answer is in regen work by locals who care about their part of the world.  Let the Government talk, plan, talk, plan, do a little, waste a lot, talk again.  Mean while the little army of careing enviroment lovers get on with it.  I'm trialing a new approch to catching cats myself currently.  Chicken stock as the bait, suspended paper streamer for the movement.  See how I go.     

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Woko
Woko's picture

All contributions to cat eradication are gratefully accepted, I'm sure, jason.

Your council's approach to weed eradication is interesting & diverges somewhat from the Bradley method of bush regeneration, one of the principles of which is to start with the highest quality bushland (rather than the biggest clump of weeds) & work out from there, allowing the seed from the high quality bushland to germinate into the weed-free areas. I'm wondering what the council's rationale is for beginning with the "biggest clump of weeds". Perhaps council's method is more relevant for riverine environments.

Yes, we need a war time approach to restoring our natural landscapes. After all, we are being invaded! But we'll be waiting a long time for our nation to gird its loins to that extent. As you say, in the meantime the dedicated Earth protectors can get on with doing their bit at the local level. Here & there good things are happening in spite of governments' desultory efforts.

jason

It's just weid isn't it.  The Ebola outbreak had Australia put up 44 million in the blink of an eye for the survival of humanity. Aids, bird flu, and even the anual flu injection sees plenty of money found.  Stopping supposed terrouism is another.   But money for nature and the occupants is like pulling teeth.  If feral animals and weeds proposed a serious here and now epidimic health threat to humans than serious action would really start. But they don't, so a basic commitement of 2 million cats in 5 years allows the slow creep of extinction keep rolling on.  Hardly raising an eyebrow in happy shoppers down at Westfields, but enough commitement to keep the environmet lovers quiet for a bit.  But just like nature's feral animals and weeds humanity has it's own, alchol, domestic vilance, suicide, depression, legal and illegal drug consumption, addictions to porn, phones, sugar, fat, and salt, pathethic morals and new age me-ism creep accross our conrtry in the corners of our houses like cats in the gardens, slowly killing the beauty of what we have.  And the real money and vote winner is spent is better raods to reduce that road toll, and clamping down on crime.  Bit like starting in the biggest clump of weeds.   

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Night Parrot
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Well said jason.

Woko
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Priorities, priorities. At least in the short term. Unfortunately, few make the connection between rich biodiversity & long term survival of both our economy & our species. The question is: will people wake up before it's too late? The signs aren't too flash. Those voices crying "Alarmist!" are gradually becoming increasingly muffled as they come from deeper in the sand. 

Woko
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Priorities, priorities. At least in the short term. Unfortunately, few make the connection between rich biodiversity & long term survival of both our economy & our species. The question is: will people wake up before it's too late? The signs aren't too flash. Those voices crying "Alarmist!" are gradually becoming increasingly muffled as they come from deeper in the sand. 

Night Parrot
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Woko
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Development of a coordinated, intense, nation-wide effort to at least reduce, preferably eradicate, roaming cats would be most welcome, not least by our wildlife. Combine that approach with genuine protection & restoration of natural habitats & we could become serious about protecting our precious native fauna.

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