Damage caused by feral cat populations attacking penguin rookeries on Bruny Island highlights inadequacies in the Cat Management Act 2009.
“The Act needs to be amended to enforce compulsory desexing and microchipping of domestic cats by cat owners to reduce their recruitment into the feral population,” Environment spokesperson Nick McKim MP said.
“The Minister has been silent on the outcome of the Act’s review which should have been completed in June this year.”
“While the Minister is at it, he should be working on a program to assist low income cat owners with the cost of microchipping and desexing.”
“Despite acknowledgment across the community of the threats feral cats pose to both native wildlife and primary industries due to toxoplasmosis, the Act has never been fully properly resourced or fully implemented.”
“Currently cat owners are not required to desex and microchip their cats, despite recruitment from the domestic to the feral population being recognised as a serious problem for native animals and many farmers.”
“It would be an investment in the health of our penguin rookeries, other native wildlife, and our primary industry sector, if the compulsory provisions of the Act were strengthened and its implementation adequately resourced,” Mr McKim said.
Background to the Cat Management Act 2009 & its implementation
- Although passed in 2009, it did not commence until 1 July 2012
- In 2013 a review of the Act was announced, due to be completed in June 2014
- Cat owners – currently it is not compulsory for cat owners to have their cat microchipped and desexed, as when Act commenced it was regulated that requirement would be phased in – but no deadline has been implemented
- Cats sold by registered breeders, or given away must be microchipped and desexed (except where a care arrangement has been entered into)
- Cats do not have to be registered (unless required by local councils)