Cat-lovers have claws out

For me there are three pivotal events in our history that make me less than proud to be a New Zealander. The first was the 1981 Springbok tour, when erstwhile passive people turned into violent thugs. Another was the 1080 debate where the order of the day from the anti-1080 lobby was to spread the maximum amount of misinformation in the most emotionally charged way possible.

Last but not least has been the debate on controlling and finally perhaps eliminating those cats that roam into protected natural areas and bird sanctuaries from their suburban homes.

On Gareth Morgan's website, Cats to Go, I have contributed to the discussion. I raised a number of issues, in what I thought to be a reasoned way, but I have been abused, even had veiled threats made against me.

Some cat-lovers seem, indeed, to be irrational, even willing to state that they favour cats over our native avifauna, and regard cats as part of the natural balance of nature in New Zealand.

These views are an unbridgeable divide from a nature conservation perspective and insult lovers of our uniquely vulnerable indigenous biodiversity. To us, such views are ignorant, and dangerous to conservation efforts if they are widely held.

Given their part in stirring the fanatical extremists along, I shall never again offer a cent to the SPCA until they (Bob Kerridge in particular) take a wider approach to animal protection and accord similar respect to our indigenous animals, such as kiwi, weka, robin, falcon and kaka - all under particular threat because of cat predation.

MARTIN NICHOLLS

New Plymouth

Taranaki Daily News