Australia, Celebs Battle Over Future of Murderous Feral Cats

'This animal genocide is inhumane and ridiculous'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2015 1:47 PM CDT
A feral cat catches and eats the adorably named crimson rosella bird. The Australian government reports the cats are largely responsible for the extinctions of many similarly adorably named creatures.   (AP Photo/Department of the Environment, C. Potter)

(Newser) – The lesser bilby. The crescent nailtail wallaby. The desert bandicoot. The large-eared hopping mouse. These are just four of the adorably named animal species that are now extinct thanks largely to the approximately 20 million feral cats currently populating Australia, the New York Times reports. This week, the Australian government is responding to criticism—specifically from singer Morrissey and French actor Brigitte Bardot—of its plan to kill 2 million feral cats by 2020. "Our native species are simply not equipped to coexist with feral cats," the BBC quotes official Gregory Andrews in open letters to the celebrities. "They did not evolve alongside predators like the feral cat." The plan to cull the feral cat population was announced in July.

Since that time, Morrissey has condemned the plan as "taking idiocy just too far" and called the Australian government "a committee of sheep-farmers who have zero concerns about animal welfare or animal respect," the BBC reports. Bardot calls the plan "scandalous" and says, "This animal genocide is inhumane and ridiculous." Andrews points out an even bigger animal genocide is being perpetrated by feral cats on the native wildlife. At least 27 species are extinct already in large part due to the cats, and the felines are currently endangering more than 120 more. He says each feral cat kills around five animals every day. According to the Australian government, feral cats are a graver threat to native wildlife than even habitat loss, the Times reports. Australia's plan is supported by the World Wildlife Fund and Nature Conservancy. (Read more feral cats stories.)

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