After a prominent New Zealand economist label them as “natural born killers” and therefore a liability, are cats no longer economically viable in New Zealand?
By: Ringo Bones
Unless scientifically verifiable evidence to the contrary emerges, cats had been introduced by the first white European settlers in an otherwise cat-free land of what is now New Zealand about couple of centuries ago. During their tenure, cats had lead to the extinction of 9 native bird species in New Zealand and have pushed other native fauna to the brink of extinction thus therefore are seen from an ecological perspective as an invasive species in New Zealand. But will a draconian measure of a prominent New Zealand economist of spaying and neutering cats and not replacing the ones left to allow them to gradually go extinct in New Zealand even be an “economically viable” option?
The rather draconian cat ban by Gareth Morgan, a prominent New Zealand economist who is now labeled as the “anti-kitty economist” by his detractors proposes that by spaying and neutering stray cats and even cats with owners and allowing them to gradually die out is the most economically viable way to solve the native wildlife extinction problem in his country. Given that the New Zealand government had set aside large tracks of the country as a protected nature preserve and those outside the country have seen these via last series of movies by Peter Jackson – i.e. The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit – is economist Gareth Morgan’s plan for a “cat extermination” the most economically viable way to solve New Zealand’s native species extinction problem? After all, tenured ecologists have since pointed out the three main threats to native wildlife all over the world are pollution, climate change due to excessive greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere causing global warming and an over encroaching human population into ecologically sensitive areas.
According to Bob Kerridge, president of the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says economist Gareth Morgan’s proposal is too cruel for New Zealand’s feline pets – economic viability or not. Even though being a prominent economist is not yet an elected position in New Zealand, Gareth Morgan could well kiss his future in New Zealand politics goodbye because cat lovers and cat owners in New Zealand won’t be voting him into public office anytime soon.