by Andrew Wood, Blue Wren Subcommittee Convenor, 31 August 2020
Click here for the full submission.
Helen Randerson and Judy Christie, members of the Subcommittee, prepared the Society’s submission to Federal Government’s Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy inquiry into the problem of feral and domestic cats in Australia. Whilst it has been estimated that feral cats kill more than three billion animals per year, pet cat studies have shown that each roaming pet cat is responsible for killing 186 reptiles, birds and mammals per year. Thus, in urban settings such as Glebe the problem of native wildlife destruction due to pet cats needs particular attention.
Research has shown that while each pet cat kills fewer animals than a feral cat, their high urban density means the toll is still very high. Per square kilometre per year, pet cats kill 30-50 times more animals than feral cats in the bush (https://www.publish.csiro.au/wr/WR19174). In cities such as Sydney, where there is limited open green space due to high population density, it is even more important that natural areas and reconstructed bush sites are maintained, and urban biodiversity appreciated and valued.
The Society has made the following recommendations to the inquiry:
- a National education campaign be launched to promote the protection of Australia’s unique native birds and animals and ‘To Make Every Cat an Indoor Cat’
- Commonwealth funds be provided to all Local Councils to promote education campaigns specifically targeted to their local areas, ‘To Make Every Cat an Indoor Cat’, to encourage cat curfews and to enforce more responsible companion animal ownership
- a National Competition be organised to encourage Australian artists and schoolchildren to create artworks illustrating the impact cats have on our native wildlife, with a view to the development of a nationally consistent Logo to ‘Make Every Cat an Indoor Cat’.