Australia, known for dangerous animals such as the inland taipan (the world’s most venomous snake) and drop bears (real) is facing an animal crisis that’s been building for the past 200 years. What, you may ask, is more frightening than the box jellyfish or the common—common—death adder? It’s your average everyday house cat.
The Independent reports that the government’s planning on putting all cats on a tight leash, placing the burden on cat owners to keep their cats indoors at all times lest they prey upon any of Australia’s native animal inhabitants.
The country, where only the strong survive and the weak flail to their death as a blue-ringed octopus drags them beneath the surface, lists 1,800 species as endangered. And, aside from keeping cats indoors at all times, the government’s also proposed a “cat cull” which would entail killing at least two million cats (and has been violently protested). The reality, however, is that cats are now a factor in Australia’s abysmal animal extinction record.
From The Independent:
Cats were introduced to the area about 200 years ago by European settlers and bred and spread rapidly across the Australian continent and New Zealand. According to one estimate, the approximately 20 million cats in Australia kill around 75 million native animals a day.
That is a lot of carnage—even more than one would expect when hearing that cats are involved. While residents are not happy that their cats would be kept inside and forced to learn to live only indoors, the permanent curfew has already been enacted in some areas and is poised for a nation-wide rollout.
The government suggests that indoor cats are happier and healthier (probably because they’re not being eaten to death by a bull shark or a coastal taipan), but vets disagree, and cat owners are concerned about the cost and maintenance of cats that are never allowed outside to roam without a leash. That’s why the government—which the Sydney Morning Herald reveals can’t just legislate that all cats be jailed—is working with local officials to make sure that all animals are kept in conditions that will benefit them.
If the decision to imprison cats indoors becomes part of Australia’s policy, the government wants to make sure that it’s not too much of a burden on current cat owners, and will institute the new regulations over time, making them both easier to adjust to and “part of Australia’s culture.”
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