New Zealand bans feral cat hunting competition, animal advocates rejoice

A feral cat hunting competition has been given the boot in New Zealand, following a flurry of public complaints. And it seems animal welfare advocates are breathing a sigh of relief at the news.

Rotherham School in the country’s South Island put a spanner in the works by announcing the introduction of a novel children’s category for this year’s annual hunting competition. Lads and lasses under 14 were invited to bag their own feral cats, with the grand prize of 250 crisp New Zealand dollars (US$155) up for grabs. Cue chaos, uproar and another round of Kiwi-themed clag-nut discussions.

In a statement yesterday, organisers called it a day on the ill-advised category, adding a word of caution for would-be junior feline executioners: no pets, please. And it seems gory relief for the New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which said it was “over the bloomin’ moon that the kiddie category involving shooting feral cats has been given the heave-ho.”

Who can blame ’em though? “No one can tell the difference between a feral, stray or a frightened domesticated cat,” said a spokesperson from the SPCA. “Not children, not even fully-grown adults!”

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With other categories for hunting wild pigs and deer, the overall competition is still good to go – fundraising activities at the ready. But it appears the cat-hunting idea has already sprouted a bit of a kerfuffle.

“Our sponsors and school safety are our main priority, so the decision has been made to withdraw this category for this year to avoid further backlash,” organisers jotted down on Facebook. Seems like there have been a few “not-so-nice” messages that’ve made their way to the school and those involved. To be honest, you can’t blame anyone for getting a bit hot under the collar, can you?

But in fairness, feral cats are pretty notorious down under for doing a proper number on the local New Zealand wildlife. The Department of Conservation reckons these wild cats pose a right old problem to native birds, bats, lizards, mice, and insects, and to their exasperated human neighbours, no doubt,

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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