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Australia’s government has decided to take a stance for its nation’s wildlife by killing cats. More specifically, the government intends to target all of the feral cats roaming through the continent, to the genocidal tune of 2 million wild felines by the end of this year alone.
How do they intend to do it, you might be wondering? By showering them with tasty sausages that are laced with poison as they airdrop the deadly treats from the sky over a vast expanse of land, covering thousands of acres.
This massive cat-cull is only one of several action plans the Australian government is undertaking in the name of protecting the continent’s biodiversity, including trapping and shooting the feral cats while encouraging communities to do the same.
Once the sausages are dropped from the plane, which is done at a rate of 50 sausages per kilometer where the cats are known to be, all the baiters have to do is let the poison work its magic.
Within 15 minutes of eating the small meaty treats, the cats’ bodies will begin to shut down and they will die.
The government is unworried about their plan for the insane cull not working, as the sausages have been scientifically engineered to attract the cats. According to the NY Times, the sausages are comprised of kangaroo meat mixed with chicken fat, a mix of spices and herbs, and, of course, the specially designed poison known simply as 1080.
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions for the state of Western Australia’s leading research scientist Dr. Dave Algar, was the man who came up with the proprietary poison that lies hidden within the sausages, and told a NY Times reporter that he perfected the recipe for the treats by testing out different foods on his own cats at home to find what would draw the ferals in best!
“They’ve got to taste good. They are the cats’ last meal,” he says.
It is believed that the common cat was introduced by the European settlers that came to colonize the isolated country in the 1800s. Since the cats’ establishment there, with native species on the island not having evolved with the instinct to escape them, the cats have ruled the food chain.
According to Australia’s National Commissioner of Threatened Species, Gregory Andrews, in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, the cats have been the driving force of extinction in at least 20 different mammal species, all of which are unique to Australia alone.
The fact that a single species can effectively eradicate so many others to the point of extinction has Andrews claiming cats are the “single biggest threat” to Australia’s inherent, native biodiversity.
“We have got to make choices to save animals that we love, and who define us as a nation like the bilby, the warru (Black-footed rock-wallaby) and the night parrot,” an impassioned Andrews urges.
One estimation from Biological Conservation reports that, in addition to the nearly 650 million species of reptile killed by cats each year, they are also responsible for the deaths of 377 million native birds as well.
When Australia first announced its strategy for its war on cats back in 2015, it was met with a good deal of controversy, with over 160,000 signees endorsing around 6 different petitions online calling for Australia to halt with any such actions against the cats but the request has largely fallen on deaf ears.
Even though the cat-culling is being performed in the name of conservation, many conservationists are outraged at the government’s decision to move forward with the plan. They claim this crude debauchery is nothing more than an attempt to distract people from the true threat to the country’s native species and biodiversities, such as forest logging, urban expansion, and mining. All of which are much more harmful to species through the destruction of their habitat.
“There’s a possibility there that cats are being used as a distraction to some extent. We also need to have a more holistic approach and address all threats to biodiversity,” conservation ecologist, Tim Doherty, of Australia’s Deaking University tells CNN.
Regardless of the various tactics, both “humane” and barbaric, the Australian government is using to cull the cats, The Royal Melbourne Institute claims that of all the cats killed in the cull so far, an astounding 83% have been from people shooting them, indicating that at best, these tactics are largely inefficient and a waste of resources.
To learn more about Australia’s infamous cat-culling process, watch the video below.