Many cat ‘welfare’ campaigners advocate for things that are counterintuitive to improving cat welfare. For example, supporting Councils efforts to round up and kill free-roaming cats. Or advocating to punish disadvantaged pet owners and see their cats impounded, rather than the services to help them become compliant. The kinds of things which increase intakes and drive a wedge between the community and animal shelters.
These ‘welfare’ campaigners are often so caught up in a culture of killing and then blaming the public for the killing, that they’ve lost all ability to think outside those parameters. So by extension they often design and advocate for nonsensical laws which do two things, drive up intakes (killing) and give further opportunity to blame. The result is a vicious cycle that can go on for decades.
Take Nillumbik Council in Victoria. In 2008, with support from the RSPCA, the council proposed a 24hr cat curfew for the 3,000 owned and registered cats in the shire. Owned cats indoors – outdoor cats culled. One can only imagine the sheer volume of ‘unavoidable’ cat killing that would have come next. Thankfully a few months later, after a roar of disapproval from cat lovers, the proposal was scrapped.
But today an equally head-scratching proposal. After declaring that mandatory desexing would be ineffective:
Banyule Mayor Wayne Phillips: “As the bulk of desexed (sic) cats are currently those that are not registered, council has no knowledge of the owners to be able to enforce such an order.”
(I suspect this was supposed to read “undesexed cats are those that are not registered”, however, the premise remains the same; you can’t enforce the law on an unowned cat)
The council has proposed the following;
… to refuse registration for cats that have not been desexed from April next year.
So knowing that the ‘problem’ cats are those that are either unregistered, or unowned AND unregistered – Council have gone ahead and put up a hurdle to cat owners registering their pets. It’s like genius, but not.
In a state where 90%+ of the cats who enter the shelter system are killed, the smart thing would be to be getting as many cats as possible identified and registered. Because then they go home, instead of into a crematory.
So are local cat welfare groups outraged at council? Are they demanding that council offer FREE cat registration (and maybe even microchipping) to ALL cats so that the fewest number possible end up unclaimed at the pound? Nope.
A leading Greensborough animal welfare group has applauded Nillumbik Council’s decision to introduce mandatory desexing for cats.
Cat Protection Society director Dr Carole Webb said she was “absolutely delighted”…
And just like that we’re back to the counterintuitive, killing and blaming cycle.
People can’t register their cats >> cats get impounded >> cats get killed >> owners get blamed.
All to chase the holy grail of ‘mandatory desexing’ which continues to fail everywhere.
There are solutions to the cat issues in Australia. There are communities who are moving their cat impoundment and killing numbers in the right direction… down. But after decades of failure, we’re still choosing to listen to those cat advocates who want to kill and then blame us for the killing.
And the cycle of failure continues in Victoria.