The Australian government wants to rid the country of 2 million feral cats by 2020 through airdropping poisonous sausages, shooting and trapping, and other controversial practices.
The government first announced its plan to kill two million cats by next year back in 2015 in a statement that has recently received notice, citing concerns for the nation’s native species and labelling feral cats as one of the “key threats” to the country’s biodiversity.
“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,” the government continued in its “Threatened Species Strategy” plan.
The first believed cats’ arrival to country occurred around the 1700s, according to CNN. Since that time, the government said, over “130 of Australia’s known species have become extinct, lost to us and to the world forever.” There are reportedly anywhere between 2 to 6 million feral cats estimated to be in Australia.
According to The New York Times, part of the government’s plan to reach its goal in eliminating 2 millions feral cats in the country is to airdrop sausages containing a poison called 1080, which is used to kill species like cats, wild dogs, and foxes. Other efforts reportedly include trapping the cats and shooting them.
A council in Queensland has even gone as far to pay a $10 bounty the scalp of each feral cat, CNN reports.
PETA Australia condemned the plan to use “poisonous baits containing toxic 1080 can be horrifically cruel” but contended that when cats are left to live feral they “can themselves be very dangerous to native animals.”
The group said that “trapping and, if necessary, euthanizing feral cats is the only way to take these animals out of the environment humanely. “