In an effort to klll two million feral cats by 2020, Australia is airdropping poisoned sausages into the wild.
The Australian government committed to the measures in 2015 over concerns for the nation’s indigenous wildlife, a move which immediately sparked outrage from animal rights groups. In the course of just one month, nearly half a million poisoned sausages were dropped across thousands of hectares as planes followed the same path they had done many times before.
According to a New York Times study, the sausages are produced of kangaroo meat, chicken fat and a mixture of herbs and spices.
The sausages are then added to a poison called 1080, which is derived from gastrolobium crops and is extremely deadly to livestock – especially cats who have not developed tolerance to it.
Pest Controller Shane Morse told the publication:
They’ve got to taste good. They are the cat’s last meal.
In addition to murdering such a large amount of feral cats, the Australian government also wants to eliminate cats from five islands and establish 10 continental exclusions free of feral cats.
The Threatened Species Strategy of the government states that feral cats are regarded in the wild as a significant threat to specific livestock.
Part of the strategy notes:
Through our commitment to take decisive action on feral cats and other invasive species, we will significantly reduce the impact of feral predators and increase the resilience of our native species.
Animal rights organizations like Direct Action Everywhere (DXE) have criticized the government for not using sterilization techniques. DXE Organizer Wayne Hsuing said the government’s killing cats on its Facebook page is’ disturbing and ironic,’ citing the fact that’ people are by far the most invasive species.’
Hsuing added that as of yet, no significant effort has been made to reduce the impacts of cats on feral wildlife using nonviolent means. Instead, he notes, the government have jumped straight to the violent option.
The DXE organiser also said ‘speculative’ and not scientific research led the Australian government to adopt a ‘violent and horrific policy,’ and one which is not based on truth.
The cats, of course, have no say in any of this. And therein lies the problem. We need a system of making policy that takes into account all the species on our planet.
However, the government say these measures are needed to protect threatened species for which cats have become a deadly predator.