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Cat Lovers Slam Eradication Campaign in New Zealand

Jan 23, 2013 04:19 AM EST
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Ancient Chinese might have first domesticated cats, a new study has found.
(Photo : Reuters)

In a bid to protect the endangered native species of birds, a New Zealand economist is encouraging pet owners to make their current cats their last, and not replace them after they die.

Gareth Morgan, an economist and well-known businessman, has started an initiative to combat the population decline of native birds. Morgan has set up a website "Cats To Go" to campaign against replacing pet cats, claiming that they are natural born killers. "That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer," Morgan wrote in his website.

Morgan's website points out the statistical fact that an average cat brings home 13 pieces of prey each year, but this is just one in five of its kills. His website also states that cats kill not just rodents but also native birds, introduced birds and invertebrates like insects. Cats have contributed to the extinction of at least nine species of native birds.

The website gives some suggestions to control the cats, such as getting a bell for the cat, keeping the cat inside the house at all times and not replacing the cat after it dies.

Despite the statistics showing evidence that cats are a major threat to native birds, Morgan's initiative is not receiving much support from his country, which has one of the highest cat ownership rates in the world, reports The Associated Press.

A 2011 survey by the New Zealand Companion Country revealed that there are 1.4 million cats in New Zealand. The survey found that 48 percent of households in New Zealand owned at least one cat per person, as against any other developed nation.

According to the AP report, many New Zealanders are against the eradication campaign. In an online poll created on Morgan's site, about 70 percent of the voters have voted against making their current pet cat their last.

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