What the fur?! A town in New Zealand hopes to ban cats in an effort to protect its native animals.
The regional council of Omaui, a coastal village on the South Island, proposed the “pest plan” on Tuesday, August 28. Omaui Landcare Trust leader John Collins told Newshub in New Zealand: “We’re not cat haters, but we’d like to see responsible pet ownership. And this really isn’t the place for cats.”
According to CBS News, the plan calls for domestic cats to be registered with the council and neutered and microchipped within six months. No new felines would be allowed in the village — including those that belong to future residents — after those that already live there die. If townsfolk do not follow the rules, the government would have the power to take cats away from their owners.
Native animals the council hopes will be helped by this measure include birds, insects and reptiles that cats are allegedly preying on. A total of 72 non-native animals, such as weasels, house mice and feral pigs, would also fall under the plan.
Ironically, The New York Times reported Omaui is home to just 35 citizens and between seven and eight cats. Though residents have until October 23 to give their opinion on the plan, some are already vocally denouncing it.
The nocturnal hunting patterns of cats keep residents from knowing just how much damage they do, but Ali Meade, who serves as the biosecurity and biodiversity manager of the regional council, believes “extensive research” conducted throughout New Zealand proves their habits are destructive to other animals.
The New Zealand Companion Animal Council found in 2016 that the country is second only to the United States in its number of pets per household. The majority of those animals are cats.
Eradicating cats is not a new idea in New Zealand. Former Parliament hopeful Gareth Morgan advocated in 2013 for the whole country to be rid of the feline species.
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