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Economist Gareth Morgan – who caused a nationwide hue and cry over calling for the eradication of domestic cats – now says he doesn’t hate them after all.
His puzzling remarks come a week after he set up a web site called Cats to Go where he called the animals sadists and natural-born killers which destroy native wildlife.
“Cats are the only true sadists of the animal world, serial killers who torture without mercy,” he said.
But after receiving another broadside from SPCA president Bob Kerridge, who described him as a “modern-day zealot” who should “butt out of our lives”, Dr Morgan is claiming he was misunderstood.
“First, let me say I do not hate cats, how people ever reached that conclusion is only for them to know,” he told NBR ONLINE.
“What I do not like, however, is the evidenced (sic) damage cats are doing to our native fauna.
“To Bob Kerridge and his fellow travellers, I fully appreciate and respect your love for the domestic cat.
“That is not the issue and totally beside the point.”
Having got that off his chest, Dr Morgan takes up the cudgels again and drops back into attack mode.
“Cat owners have no right to allow their animals to wander across my property and slaughter wildlife.
“Incredibly from the mail I’ve received, too many cat owners do think this is their right.
Dr Morgan then takes a swipe at local councils which, he says, “have been laggards in this space and need to step up their vigilance”.
“Councils need to urgently bring down bylaws that force cat owners to register, microchip and neuter their cats, impose fines on cat owners who need to retrieve their cats from the local pound and euthanise unclaimed cats.”
He believes New Zealanders should “cage trap” cats that wander across their property, put them in a box and deliver them to the local mayor’s office “for them to deal with”.
However, Dr Morgan saves most of his vitriol for what he describes as the SPCA’s “little-known Trap Neuter Release (TNR) policy”.
“This despicable practice means that stray cats are no longer put down by the SPCA as they once were, but instead neutered and released into colonies where they can continue to kill wildlife unabated.
“Simply neutering a cat does nothing to stop the bloodlust.
“To make matters worse, these colonies are fed, which attracts new cats and ensure their population keeps rising despite the de-sexing policy.
“In short, TNR is an expensive failure (and) I want the SPCA to dump (it).
“Not only is this practice open to legal challenge as cruelty to animals, but its violation of the Biosecurity and Wildlife Acts is well worth pursuing.
“Any lawyers out there want to give Bob Cat a run for his money on this, then join the team – sorry I couldn’t avoid the pun.
“The Society for the Protection of Cats (SPCA) needs to take a long, hard look at itself in the mirror,” he says.
For his part, Mr Kerridge has called on Dr Morgan to “put your money where your busy mouth is and support us by assisting with the funding of desexing and microchipping every domestic cat in the country”.
“That will make a positive difference and will free up SPCA funding to add to our bird rescue activities.
“If you don’t want to do that and you continue on your ridiculous resolve to be rid of all cats, I can only repeat what I have already said.
“Butt out of our lives and don’t deprive us of the beautiful relationship that a cat can provide, individually, and in our families,” he says.