The Australian government has responded to recent criticism from singer Morrissey over plans to cull up to two million feral cats to help save endangered species.
The pledge was made in July by the country’s Federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, who said that reduced numbers of feral cats would “halt and reverse the threats to our magnificent endemic species”.
There are currently an estimated 20 million feral cats in the country, with the government hoping to reduce the figure by two million before 2020 by trapping, shooting and a new poison bait.
With the former Smiths frontman saying the plan “taking idiocy too far” and comparing the felines to “smaller versions of Cecil The Lion”, Threatened species commissioner Gregory Andrews has now penned a letter to both Morrissey and fellow animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot.
According to The Guardian Australia, Andrews says: “I would like to commend you for your commitment to, and advocacy for, animals and their welfare… [but] the Australian government has taken a stance on feral cats; for the protection of our native species that belong here.”
Andrews told The Guardian Australia: “I never thought I’d write to Brigitte Bardot. It’s an unusual situation. I’m glad people like them care about animal welfare and I care deeply about animal welfare too.”
“The threat to our wildlife are clear and feral cats are top of the list. We don’t hate cats but we don’t have a choice. We will do this as humanely as possible and we will reduce the net suffering of animals in Australia.”
“I sleep very well at night knowing what we are doing. Australians support this. Brigitte Bardot and Morrissey have a lack of understanding of Australia and what we are losing. They aren’t Australians, they aren’t experiencing the extinction crisis we have here.”