Poisonous sausages are being airdropped into the bush to kill feral cats as the Australian government pushes to kill two million by 2020. Animal rights groups like Direct Action Everywhere (DXE) has criticized the government for not using methods like sterilization. Cats kill 377 million birds and 649 million reptiles per year, which makes the soil less fertile and productive. A highly-restricted poison is added to sausages made of kangaroo meat, chicken fat and a mix of herbs and spices, New York Times reports.
‘They’ve got to taste good. They are the cat’s last meal,’ pest controller Shane Morse said.
Native animals are immune to the poison as it is found in native plants. The government’s threatened species strategy aims to use ‘best practice feral cat action’ across two million hectares and standard cat action across another 10 million hectares. They also want to eliminate cats from five islands and create 10 mainland exclosures free from feral cats.
DXE Organiser Wayne Hsuing said it is ‘disturbing and ironic’ the government is killing cats since ‘humans are by far the most invasive species’. He suggestes “a mass spaying program or stronger sanctions against guardians who abandon their cats in the wild.”
Feral cats ‘binge on’ a range of species including 11 endangered species, such as the Great Desert Skink, of which there are 4000 to 10,000 left in the wild. Professor of Conversation Biology at Charles Darwin University John Woinarski wrote that predation from feral cats resulted in the extinction of 34 mammal species. Feral cats in Australia kill four times more lizards than American cats. Mr Woinarski said the loss of lizards would result in the soil becoming less productive.
‘Australia is distinctive for its natural environment… these are animals that turn over the soil and add fertility to it,’ Mr Woinarski said.