Australia is airdropping poisoned sausages into the wild in an attempt to kill two million feral cats by 2020.
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.
The sausages are made from kangaroo meat, chicken fat and a mix of herbs and spices, according to a report by The New York Times.
A poison called 1080 is then added to the sausages, which is derived from gastrolobium plants and is highly lethal to animals – particularly cats, who have not developed a tolerance to it.
Pest Controller Shane Morse told the publication:
They’ve got to taste good. They are the cat’s last meal.
As well as killing such a high number of feral cats, the Australian government also want to eliminate cats from five islands and create 10 mainland exclosures which will be free from feral cats.
The government’s Threatened Species Strategy notes that feral cats are considered a major threat to particular animals in the wild.
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.
Animals rights groups such as Direct Action Everywhere (DXE) has criticised the government for not using methods like sterilisation.
DXE Organiser Wayne Hsuing said it is ‘disturbing and ironic’ the government is killing cats on his Facebook page, citing the fact that ‘humans 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.
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