SPCA: Morgan taking catfight too far

OLIVIA WANNAN
Last updated 06:54 22/02/2013

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Gareth Morgan is standing behind his name-and-shame tactics, after displaying a "Wanted" poster giving the names and phone numbers of Wellington SPCA board members at a public meeting.

SPCA members called the technique "distressing" and "unnecessary", but Dr Morgan said his actions at the meeting in Karori on Wednesday night would force board members to face up to the consequences of their policy of treating and releasing stray cats.

"The Wellington SPCA made a decision to support stray cats," he said. "I want those people to stand up and say they're happy to see wildlife annihilated by their policy."

Emanuel Kalafatelis, an SPCA board member who attended the meeting, said the move was a "slap in the face" considering the hard work the volunteer board, staff and hundreds of community volunteers did.

The society has adopted a trap, neuter and return (TNR) scheme for stray cats, which Wellington SPCA chief executive Iain Torrance said was demand-driven.

Animal welfare inspectors had suggested it as the best way to ensure the welfare of all animals, exotic and native. There were also international studies showing such schemes significantly reduced stray cat numbers over time, he said.

He stressed that the cats were released only after the SPCA was assured they would be well fed for the rest of their lives, and were never released in native bush.

Dr Morgan and ecology experts counter that cats will kill native birds even if well-fed, and the rate of TNR would have to increase more than 80 times to see a population decrease.

Dr Morgan said he was committed to ending TNR, and any SPCA support of stray animals.

He was prepared to take the battle to court, but he would continue to try to resolve ideological differences with SPCA boards directly.

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- The Dominion Post

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