‘Work to be done’ on legitimising feral cat culls – Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage

The issue of killing cats to protect wildlife has raised its head again.

The matter was first brought up by philanthropist and political contender Gareth Morgan in 2013.

Mr Morgan incurred some vitriolic attacks by cat lovers as well as some support for his position, that cats are little better than a killing machine for endangered native birds.

Responding to stakeholders’ questions, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said at a Federated Farmers conference this week there was definitely a problem with feral cats preying on native birds, but there needed to be further conversation before cats could be killed.

She suggested a government programme to eradicate predators might have to be extended to include cats.

“Predator Free 2050 focuses on possums, rats and stoats … but cats are a problem too … that is work to be done,” Ms Sage said.

“We have got one of the highest rates of cat ownership in the world, and there is a quite a lot of social discussion that needs to occur to legitimise killing cats.

“We have got to do some more work about highlighting their impact.”

She stressed her concern was with wild cats, not the family moggy.

“There is a lot more work to be done before I take this matter to Cabinet, if I take it to Cabinet,” Ms Sage said.