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Proposed Cat Ban To Save Birds Ruffles Feathers

"It's like a police state," laments a resident of the New Zealand village
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2018 4:20 PM CDT
Cats may be banned in a small New Zealand village.   (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP)

(Newser) – Omaui, New Zealand? It's for the birds—that's the vision of some people, at least. To that end, officials have come up with a plan to ban cats, blamed for decimating native wildlife, in the coastal village, Newshub reports. John Collins, a major proponent of the plan, tells the Otago Daily Times, "We're not cat haters, but we want our environment to be wildlife-rich," adding that cats have "ripped to pieces" native birds on his own lawn. Under the plan, residents of the village (there are about 35 of them, per the New York Times) will have to neuter, microchip, and register their cats. After that, says official Ali Meade, a cat will be permitted to "to live out its natural life at Omaui happily doing what it's doing. But when it dies, you wouldn’t be able to replace it."

Not all Omaui residents are onboard with the plan. "It's like a police state," Nico Jarvis tells the Daily Times. Her three cats are the only effective form of rodent control she has, she says, adding that "If I cannot have a cat, it almost becomes unhealthy for me to live in my house." Protecting native wildlife—reptiles and insects, in addition to birds—has been an issue in New Zealand for some time, per the New York Times, and the country set a goal to exterminate all rats and other invasive predators by 2050. As for the Omaui cat ban, Jarvis says the majority of residents see things her way; those that do will have eight weeks to provide feedback on the plan. (Read more New Zealand stories.)

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