Submission To WCC Animal Bylaw Review 2016
Feline Rights NZ Strongly Opposes The Following Proposals
* Limitation Of The Number Of Cats Per Household To Three Cats
* Compulsory Microchipping Or Other Identification For All Cats
* Further Limitations On Cats In Supposed 'Wildlife Sensitive Areas'
* The Mass Extermination Of Stray Cats In Wellington
* Night Curfew On Cats
Working With This Document
This document contains links to references on the internet. If you have received this document as hard copy or the pdf file, we recommend you access the online version at our website which includes direct links to the online references which provide undeniable support for our view. The online version displays links to external references in blue text. The links are also listed as references in both hyperlink and text at the end of each section.
Why We Oppose The Proposed Changes
When this matter was first placed before the public eye back in November 2015, the Council stated they had received reports of 'Cats killing native wildlife'. (1) When Feline Rights NZ successfully challenged the Council with quotes from the Council's own press releases on the proliferation of native birds in Wellington, they then claimed the proposed restrictions on Cats were to prevent citizens from 'hoarding Cats'. (2) When we pointed out the Health Act 1956 already covers the hoarding of Cats, the Council then began to cite 'animal welfare' (3) as the reason for the proposed restrictions.
It is clear that this is not about 'Cats killing native wildlife', nor 'hoarding Cats', and it is certainly not about 'animal welfare'.
The subsection on Cats in the Animal Bylaw Review 2016 appears to be based in it's entirety on a submission by Geoff Simmons of the Morgan Foundation to the WCC Environment Committee on 17 March 2015, supported by numerous instances of collective lobbying by staff and followers of the Morgan Foundation.
Our view is this is about fulfilling the directives of well funded zealot amateur 'conservationists' and appeasing these false 'conservationists' with a license for the mass extermination of all Cats who do not have identification. Alternatively it is a simple matter of the archetype of totalitarianism compromising the group mind of the circle of leadership which is the Council.
By stating the Council will respond "reactively" they have confirmed they will be relying on civilian informants. This policy makes those of us who keep Cats less trusting of other households around us. This policy makes for division within the community, therefore it amounts to poor Government.
1 - Supposed 'Threat To Native Wildlife'
This document has an entire section on this subject here which provides undeniable proof that native birds are doing well right now, before any Cat control measures have been implemented. We also include a section here where we present evidence that removing Cats from an ecosystem can do more harm than good.
2 - 'Hoarding Of Cats' and 'Nuisances Caused By Cats'
We understand that where domestic animals are creating a public nuisance or health risk there is already extant legislation in place (Health Act 1956) that can be invoked which has successfully been utilised to prosecute individuals whom the authorities deem are keeping too many Cats. The prime example is the case of Invercargill City Council vs Averil Gardiner in January 2015. We note that at the time of this prosecution, Invercargill City Council already had a three Cat maximum per household bylaw in place, yet they still invoked the Health Act 1956 when they took Ms Gardiner before the court.
That a local body with an extant bylaw which limits the number of Cats per household chose to invoke the Health Act 1956 in this instance tells us that a bylaw limiting the number of Cats one may keep is not about 'animal welfare' or 'preventing citizens from hoarding Cats', or dealing with perceived public health risk or public nuisance. All of which are already covered by extant legislation, namely the Health Act 1956, Animal Welfare Act 1999, Companion Cats Code of Welfare 2007.
Therefore we see no good reason why there is a need for a bylaw to limit the number of Cats per household to three.
Undoubtedly what bylaws that limit the number of Cats one may keep are really about is:
* A FIRST STEP IN BANNING CITIZENS FROM KEEPING CATS AT ALL
* AN ONGOING ACT OF INTIMIDATION DIRECTED AT CITIZENS WHO KEEP CATS
3 - 'Animal Welfare'
Clearly the proposed bylaws are not about 'animal welfare' at all.
The proposal for compulsory identification via microchip is a proposal with the core intent of circumventing the definition of stray Cats as written into law in the Animal Welfare Act 1999, thus leaving only two categories of Cats:
'Owned' Cats and 'Feral' Cats
'Feral' then being defined under the proposed bylaw as any Cat that does not have identification, and thus a target for execution in the Council's plan to follow the Morgan Foundation's directive, run roughshod over the Animal Welfare Act, and conduct a mass extermination of all Cats who do not have identification.
* Why We Oppose Compulsory Microchipping Or Other Identification
The main reason why microchipping must be resisted is:
THE COUNCIL INTENDS TO TRAP AND KILL EVERY CAT THAT DOES NOT HAVE ID!
To quote (4) Councillor Iona Pannett, Chair, WCC Environment Committee:
"Essentially having the identification means we won’t be trapping, and potentially putting a Cat down if it is caught, our staff will know that it is a Cat owned by someone, it is against the bylaw to kill a domestic animal."
To the Council we say: Current penalties for willfully ill-treating an animal (5) are maximum five year prison sentence or a $100,000 fine.
There is talk of using the Council Animal Control Services to capture and execute every Cat without ID, but we believe Animal Control Services who have only five officers (6) for the entire city do not have the resources to do this.
We suspect the Council will outsource to members of the Morgan Foundation Halo Campaign and grant permission for members of this and other amateur 'conservation' corps to use cage traps to capture and then kill any Cat that does not return an ID reference on a microchip scanner.
The prospect of wholesale genocide of stray Cats is unacceptable, and the prospect of outsourcing this nefarious activity to zealot amateur 'conservation' groups is completely unacceptable.
At last count 800+ individuals have signed the independent petition (7) against the mass extermination of stray Cats in Wellington
EVEN IF YOUR CAT HAS ID IT WILL STILL BE AT RISK OF BEING KILLED!
The smarter people amongst us know that incompetence abounds. If your Cat is trapped and is then scanned in a haphazard manner and the individual using the scanner fails to get a reading, it will be executed. There are also documented cases such as this one, (8) where park rangers have caged trapped, then shot a domestic Cat who had both a microchip ID and a collar with a name tag. Even if your Cat returns a positive identification it is still likely to suffer lasting trauma from being trapped and then mishandled by disrespectful cruel people who do not know how to handle Cats.
The Council have stated on their faq page: "Cats that are able to be identified are returned to their owners. Other Cats that are friendly are rehomed through organisations such as the SPCA. In some circumstances Cats that do not have identification, exhibit feral characteristics and that are assessed to be unsuitable to rehome may be euthanized."
We believe any Cat that has first been trapped and then is approached by cold hearted individuals who know nothing of Cats will 'exhibit feral characteristics'. This a natural instinctual response from a Cat who's life is under threat. Let's be clear, any individuals you hire or contract to trap and kill Cats are going to be some of the nastiest cold hearted people around. If they were anyone other than cold hearted cruel individuals they would not be taking on the job in the first place.
The bottom line is if the Council goes down the path of trapping all Cats, scanning captured Cats for identification and executing all Cats who do not appear to have identification, sooner or later there will be domestic Cats killed. This will be a very bad look for the Council, the media will have a field day with it, and to say it will put you offside with ratepayers is an understatement.
This article (9) has a lot to say about how scanner technology is not all it is said to be, errors occur and lives are lost.
"Dr. Patricia Khuly, VMD of the Sunset Animal Clinic in Miami, Florida warns: "not all scanners are created equal. Some are better than others at reading a wide variety of microchips. That means your 'pet' may get lost, found, scanned and euthanized if the scanner comes up 'empty'."
MICROCHIPPING COMES WITH SERIOUS HEALTH RISKS FOR YOUR CATS!
There is a large body of opinion and evidence that suggests microchipping can be an unsafe practice, here is the link to one of those articles. (10) An impartial researcher can find numerous other similar references online.
"Scientific studies involving mice and rats show that test animals have developed aggressive and lethal microchip-induced cancerous growths. Scientific reports also show that chipped zoo animals have developed microchip-associated cancerous growths. Medical reports and scientific studies also reveal that dogs and cats have developed aggressive cancerous growths at the site of their microchip implants."
"In October 2010, a lawsuit was filed in the US by Andrea Rutherford against Merck Sharp and Dohme and Digital Angel Inc. because her Cat, Bulkin, developed cancer at the site of his Home Again microchip implant."
"Animals have also died due to the microchip implant procedure. In 2004, the BSAVA reported that a kitten died suddenly when it was chipped. "During the postmortem examination the microchip was found in the brain stem," writes the BSAVA."
"Real-life evidence shows that microchip implants are an unreliable and potentially dangerous form of identification. In spite of the risks, microchip companies and advocates of microchipping continue to mislead pet owners by saying that microchips are reliable and safe. In addition, mandatory animal microchipping legislation continues to be enacted around the world".
Having read of the dangers of microchipping would you risk the health and the lives of your beloved family members to satisfy the eco-fascists who are presently in power? On the other hand if one chooses not to engage in microchipping, the Council will then trap and murder your Cats.
COMPULSORY IDENTIFICATION IS A PRECURSOR TO CURFEWS!
The Council considered the idea of curfews on Cats but decided they did not presently have the infrastructure in place to enforce curfews. Compulsory identification is part of the infrastructure they require to enforce curfews on Cats. Therefore if you agree to compulsory identification, you not only agree to the mass-murder of countless Cats, you also agree to the idea of curfew at a later stage.
COMPULSORY IDENTIFICATION OF ANY FORM MUST BE COMPLETELY REJECTED
* Further Limitations On Cats In Supposed 'Wildlife Sensitive Areas'
The city's parks and the city including the residential zones are not a wildlife sanctuary. The city and the parks are for everyone, including the Cats. There is already a wildlife sanctuary, namely Zealandia. It's cost the ratepayer millions of dollars. Presently most citizens think the Zealandia project is worthwhile. Attempt to turn the entire city, it's parks and residential zones into a wildlife sanctuary, and in the process infringe on residents customary right to keep Cats, and we can expect support for Zealandia and all other conservation activity in the city to wane through to zero quite swiftly.
This idea of limitations on Cats in supposed 'wildlife sensitive areas' is one of Councillor Andy Foster's suggestions. Councillor Foster is a Zealandia wildlife sanctuary guardian. A founding trustee and was a representative on the Karori Sanctuary Trust Board for many years. Whilst this may not represent a formal conflict of interest in the Council's perception, we feel his association with Zealandia represents a moral conflict of interest.
The Council can forget about this idea. What you are doing is practicing a form of animal racism or speciesism. You people are demonizing and discriminating against an entire species, a species who many of us chose to share our homes with. This is an assault on the culture of European New Zealanders. It is our customary right to keep Cats. This sort of ideology will never ever be tolerated in Aotearoa, so forget about it now and go hang your heads in shame.
References(1) 26 November 2015 - Council Approves 'Review' Of 'Pets' In Wellington City
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/74433708/(2) 11 March 2016 - Wellington Bylaw Would Cap Cat Numbers, Ban Roosters And Limit Pigeon Feeding
http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/77800058/(3) WCC - Proposed Changes For Cat 'Owners'
http://wellington.govt.nz/have-your-say/public-inputs/consultations/open/animal-bylaw/proposed-changes-for-cat-owners/(4) Cat IDs Could Pave Way For Culls
http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/298739/cat-ids-could-pave-way-for-culls(5) Hutt Man Guilty Of Poisoning Neighbour's Cat
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/75264585/(6) Animal Control And Parking Officers To Wear Cameras
http://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/news/2016/04/animal-control-and-parking-officer-to-wear-cameras(7) Online Petition: Oppose The Methodical Extermination Of Stray Cats In Wellington
https://www.change.org/p/environment-committee-of-the-wellington-city-council-oppose-the-methodical-extermination-of-stray-cats-in-wellington(8) 17 March 2015 - Auckland Park Rangers Trap And Kill 'Pet'
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/67423828/(9) Failure of Electronic Scanner
http://www.chipmenot.org/scanner.htm(10) Microchips: Are 'Pet' Owners Being Misled?
Proliferation Of Native Birds - Proof The Cats Are Not Catching Them
For the purposes of this section of the document we will assume the Council's own news releases are factual in content.
Councillor Helene Ritchie was quoted in this article (11) in the news section of the WCC website: "the survey results back up what most Wellingtonians have figured out over the past few years. that the renewed presence of tui, kereru, kaka and other native birds in our suburbs is making Wellington an even more attractive place to live."
In this article (12) The Council states: "You can see and hear many native birds, overflowing from nearby Zealandia"
On 28 December 2015 there was a confirmed report (13) of Saddlebacks breeding outside of Zealandia.
On 14 April 2016 this article (14) reports how in fifteen years the Kaka population has gone from 6 to an estimated 750 birds, "Zealandia staff have banded 750 kaka, and more and more unbanded birds are now showing up in and around the sanctuary" There has been no restrictions on Cats in that 15 year period. This is undeniable proof that Cats are not catching them, and undeniable proof that there is no good reason to place restrictions on our Cats, and there is no need at all for the Council's planned mass extermination of stray Cats.
For our final example We note Councillor Andy Foster's comment in this article (15) regarding the "recent explosion in the capital's bird life" which by some form of twisted logic he uses to justify the idea of Cat free zones in supposed 'wildlife sensitive areas'.
Yes, lots more birds about and that is good. However the Council have not yet implemented the proposed restrictions on Cats, therefore all of the Cats are going about business as usual are they not? Yet there has been this wonderful proliferation of bird life anyway, as the Council itself has stated in various press releases.
"Renewed presence", "Overflowing", "Recent Explosion in the capital's bird life". So many Kaka, Zealandia staff have determined Kaka no longer require monitoring, and Saddleback breeding in the wild for the first time in a century.
These quotations amount to statements of proof from the Council itself that the Cats are not catching the birds.
So clearly this is not just about Cats and birds. It is about misconception, delusion, power and control. Which unelected individuals are behind the scenes pulling the strings? and given that what the Council now attempt to do could well be an act of political suicide, we do wonder what the incentives might be?
In closing we say to the Council in general and Councillor Andy Foster in particular we have presented an amount of proof that the birds are doing just fine without any restrictions being placed on Cats, and we warn on the dangers of attempting to micromanage an ecosystem. In the next section we will share examples of the damage that can happen when Cats are removed from an ecosystem.
References(11) 16 February 2016 - Feathery Link To Property Sales In The Capital
http://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/news/2016/02/native-birds-used-to-sell-wellington-property(12) Coming soon: new BMX race track and new mountain bike track
http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=86491(13) 28 December 2015 - Saddleback Youngster Spotted Outside Zealandia
http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/75485658/(14) 14 April 2016 - Zealandia Ends Its Monitoring Of Kaka numbers As Population Thrives
http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/78914083/(15) 17 march 2016 - Wellington Cats Face Prospect Of Microchips Or Tattoos
The Consequences Of Eco-Extremist Misconceptions
Dire Consequences For Native Wildlife
In this section we present evidence that removing Cats from an ecosystem can do more harm than good.
First there is one of the news reports (16) about the Raglan Cat killer. In this case a psychopathic amateur 'conservationist' decided that killing all of the local domestic Cats would help native wildlife. The result of this sick individual's actions was that rodents took over and killed many of the native birds.
We quote from the article:
"Adrienne Livingston, a private ecological consultant and former ecology lecturer at Northland Polytechnic, is concerned about the number of half-eaten eggs and dead chicks she is finding strewn across her back yard. "I am now observing the effect the marked absence of Cats is having on this suburban ecosystem." The Cat killers are known to be birdlife enthusiasts, she said, but instead of helping native birds, they are enabling the rodent population to rob bird nests unchecked."
In our second example, Landcare Research wildlife ecologist John Innes, is quoted in this article (17) as stating "it was absurd to look to Australia as a model for restricting cats, because the two countries were so different ecologically". In a decade of tui restoration work, he has "never had an account of a tui being killed by a Cat". He states the main diet of wild Cats is rodents, "Cats eat a lot of ship rats. Ship rats probably eat more forest birds than Cats put together" and that Cats do their best work catching rodents at night.
John Innes is quoted again in our third example: (18) "There is uncertainty about whether the good stuff that Cats do outweighs the bad, but the one thing that is known is that they do their good stuff at night, if you’re going to keep your Cats in at night you're stopping them doing anything good at all".
John Innes' comments match our own observations. At night, what Cats catch are rats and mice. In 50 years of keeping Cats we have never once seen a bird or lizard capture at night.
Night curfews on Cats would only give the rodent population free reign to go about doing what they do. Night curfews are clearly counter productive for conservation. Therefore we must question why the Wellington City Council and other Councils have suggested night curfews as an option at all.
At least two reasons for this, and both are founded on gross misconception.
First, they have looked to what is being done in Australia. In Australia they have various native rodents and marsupials which are nocturnal, and these are vulnerable to being caught by Cats at night. Here in New Zealand the only rodents we have are introduced rodents, these are considered to be 'pests'. Second, the Councils have been repeatedly subjected to collective lobbying by amateur 'conservation' zealots like the Morgan Foundation. This has occurred so often the Councils have begun to believe the opinion of the amateur 'conservationists' as fact. Gareth Morgan, Geoff Simmons and crew are NOT ecologists, they are well funded opinionated zealot amateurs who have run both a concerted propaganda campaign via complicit factions within the mainstream media and have directed their followers to engage in collective lobbying across the nation.
In our fourth example we quote John Reid from his paper "The Destruction Of Macquarie Island" (19) "The changes began with the extermination of the feral Cats between 1985 and 2000 in an attempt to restore the island and its bird population to its pristine state. This led to an explosion in the rabbit population once this predator had been removed. Attempts to control the rabbits started as early as 1968 but with little success. It now appears that it was primarily the Cats keeping them in check".
Our fifth example is this paper (20) by Frank Courchamp, Michel Lanlais and George Sugihara published in The Journal of Animal Ecology (1999). It backs up the opinion of John Innes, John Reid and others. Grab your scientific calculator, you'll need it if you want to follow along with the calculations. The authors' conclusions support neither the ill informed assumptions of some amateur 'conservation' groups nor the misguided opinions of some members of local government.
References(16) 18 December 2013 - Raglan Cat Killings Annihilate Local Birdlife
http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/9531706/(17) 15 January 2013 - Landcare Research Scientist States "Cats Not NZ's Main Culprit Killers"
http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/8180514/(18) 23 January 2013 - Gareth Morgans Cats To Go Campaign Questioned
http://www.newshub.co.nz/environmentsci/gareth-morgans-cats-to-go-campaign-questioned-2013012300(19) September 2012 - John Reid - The Destruction Of Macquarie Island
http://www.scienceheresy.com/scienceheresyarchive/2012_10/mi/the-destruction-of-macquarie-island.html(20) Cats Protecting Birds: Modelling The Mesopredator Release Effect
"Community Desire" = Bowing To The Wishes Of A Minority
In the introductory section of the Council's Faq page (21) entitled "Why we are making these changes" the Council states. "There is community desire to encourage responsible ownership of Cats which will enable the Cat's welfare to be protected".
Our view is the 'community' in this case amounts to a minor survey on one hand, and whole lot of collective lobbying directed by the staff at The Morgan Foundation and a few other zealot amateur 'conservationists'. Our experience talking with Wellington citizens suggests some are against the proposed changes and others are indifferent to them.
It is clear that the inclusion of Cats in the Animal Bylaw Review 2016 is based in it's entirety on a submission by Geoff Simmons of the Morgan Foundation to the WCC Environment Committee on 17 March 2015.
The banning of Cats from supposed 'wildlife sensitive areas', night curfews on Cats and compulsory microchipping were all part of Simmons submission, each of which the Council erroneously decided has merit.
We are aware The Morgan Foundation is engaging in persistent collective lobbying of Local Government nationwide. (22)
Undoubtedly the Council will have received dozens, if not hundreds of submissions demonizing Cats from the Morgan Foundation staff and followers.The Morgan Foundation are not ecologists, they are opinionated zealot amateur 'conservationists' who simply hate Cats. They wish for all Cats to be eradicated. Essentially The Morgan Foundation are nothing more than a genocidal eco-extremist hate group.
We ask the Council to be aware of the collective lobbying activity directed by the Morgan Foundation and that the Council be aware that the opinions shared in these submissions represent the opinions of a small amount of individuals, namely well known Cat hater Gareth Morgan, Morgan Foundation General Manager Geoff Simmons and Project Manager Jessi Morgan, amplified by numerous supporting submissions from their other staff and zealot amateur 'conservationist' followers.
References(21) WCC - Proposed Changes For Cat 'Owners'
http://wellington.govt.nz/have-your-say/public-inputs/consultations/open/animal-bylaw/proposed-changes-for-cat-owners/(22) March 2016 - Morgan Foundation Collective Lobbying Of Regional Councils