Would you shoot feral cats to protect your local biodiversity and environment?
It seems a drastic measure to combat growing concerns over feral cat numbers in the Riverina but it’s one gaining traction with the hunting community.
Sporting Shooters Association of Australia NSW executive director Diana Melham believes introduced species pose a “real threat” to Australia’s biosecurity and require “efficient management to limit their negative environmental, economic and social impacts”.
“SSAA NSW is fully aware of the increased focus on feral cats in recent months,” she said.
Ms Melham said hunting, under the right circumstances, can “play an effective role in pest animal management programs”.
This claim has been refuted by Kooringal Veterinary Hospital practice manager Lisa Ratmund, who says there are “more humane” alternatives to shooting.
“Feral cats can easily be trapped and brought in to be euthanised at registered clinics,” she said.
“When animals are brought in, they can also be scanned for microchips to ensure they aren’t someone’s missing pet.”
Dr Ratmund said it was difficult to determine whether a cat was feral whilst hunting with guns.
“You just can’t be sure unless you check for a microchip, unless it’s some big tomcat covered in scars or something like that,” she said.
“At least if they’re trapped and brought in, we can accurately determine whether they are feral or not.”