New Zealand’s children’s cat hunting competition breaks record

This is an increase of more than 40% over one year. “The controversial competition, which allows children to hunt cats for money, has produced its biggest haul to date, with around 340 felines killed,” announcement The Guardian the day after this great southern winter sweep, which ended on Sunday June 30 in the Canterbury region, in the center of the New Zealand archipelago.

It’s about a annual hunting campaign which targets so-called wild animals “harmful” for the ecosystem: deer, pigs, ducks, opossums, rabbits and… cats, since last year – mainly cats “feral”, born domestic but returned to the wild, usually after abandonment.

Asked by the Guardian, Event organizer Matt Bailey explains that “The feline category was created to ‘regulate’ feral cats, which threaten native wildlife and carry diseases that endanger farmers’ livestock.” The prize, continues the New Zealand edition of the British daily, is a cash reward of 500 New Zealand dollars (282 euros) for the biggest cat killer. The one who traps the biggest cat receives a bonus of 1,000 dollars (565 euros).

Cruelty and violence

Just over 1,500 people took part in the event this year, almost a third of whom were under 14. A sign of success for Matt Bailey, for whom “rural children grow up in an environment where animals are hunted, skinned, processed and eaten.”

A certain vision of rural life which is not to the taste of owners of domestic cats or, more generally, of defenders of the animal cause, who “claim that (the contest) is cruel to animals, desensitizes children to violence and endangers domestic cats.”

However, continues the Guardian, “Hunters and animal rights groups have one thing in common: they want more emphasis on the responsibility of cat owners.” The newspaper cites the Animal Justice Party, an organization that believes other methods of managing cat populations should be explored, including trapping and sterilization programs.

Chief Hunter Matt Bailey agrees: “Cats are top predators. If we want to get rid of these predators, it is time to put a stop to the flow of people breeding cats and abandoning them in the wild.”

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