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Get feral cats back in our sights

Get feral cats back in our sights

SSAA Victoria members are being called on to add their voice to a decision on feral cat control and the Authority to Control Wildlife.

DELWP has published two surveys inviting public comment on the issues and we have until May 20 to add some common-sense balance to the feral cat issue and June 29 on ATCW.

Hunting Development Manager for SSAA Victoria, David Laird, has responded on both issues on behalf of the State Office, but is calling on members to respond to the surveys as individuals.

“The first survey is to gauge public reaction to the declaration of feral cats as an established pest animal on public land,” he said.

“The Association fully supports the declaration as it understands only too well the damage that feral cats can do to native wildlife populations.

“The indications to the Association during the lead-up to the declaration were that feral cats would be able to be hunted by recreational hunters on public land under the same conditions as other feral species.

“There has been a significant back-flip on this position in the announced declaration, with only DELWP and PV staff authorised to control them.

“Recreational hunters will not allowed to shoot feral cats on public land under the declaration.

“In a totally misguided and illogical decision the Government is failing to utilise the enormous (and free) resource that is available to it in recreational hunters.

“In what appears to be the result of a cave in to pressure from inner-city cat lovers, this government is squandering the opportunity to save millions of native animals from the ravages of feral cats.”

He said the Association recognises the necessity for the strategic management of cats, but the opportunistic harvesting of feral cats by hunters could directly save countless native animals.

“SSAA Victoria is calling on Government to extend the declaration so that recreational hunters can contribute to the positive environmental outcomes that occur through the control of feral cats,” Mr Laird said.

You can find the survey here.

The second survey is in relation to the Authority To Control Wildlife (ATCW) system.

Mr Laird said the “community interest” referred to in the overview of this review seems to be input from animal rights groups seeking to make ATCWs more difficult to get.

“Farmers and land managers face enough challenges dealing with pest and problem animals on their land without facing additional red-tape and bureaucracy,” he said.

“Many SSAA Victoria members act as agents for landowners and control animals on their behalf.”

He said the Association supports the ATCW system but would like to see it more streamlined.

“Permits should be able to be issued in advance of damage actually occurring in situations where that damage is known to be likely,” Mr Laird said.

“Orchards and grape growers face annual challenges with bird damage to fruit and farmers sowing crops or new pasture regularly suffer infestations of kangaroos.

“In these cases, it should not be necessary to wait until damage is occurring, then wait for the four to six weeks it takes to issue a permit, before control can commence.”

Find the ATCW survey here.

Members are encouraged to respond to both surveys to provide some common-sense balance to the animal rights brigade who tend to dominate the responses on these types of surveys.

Consultation will close at midnight on Sunday 20 May 2018 for the feral cat declaration and on 29 June 2018 for the ATCWs.