Australia is pushing for a 24-hour cat curfew to protect endangered species

Killing Machine…
Killing Machine…
Image: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
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Australian cats are facing an unprecedented crackdown. In order to protect endangered species like the ringtailed possum from feline predators, the federal government is calling on owners to keep their domestic cats inside at all times, especially near conservation areas, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. 

The call from the country’s first “threatened species commissioner,” Gregory Warner, comes after the country announced a cull of 2 million feral cats, which drew anger from animal rights activists including the French actress Brigitte Bardot. The country’s feral cats like to feast on hundreds of species, including 16 that are threatened worldwide.

“The plan over the long term is to make this part of our culture, and then it becomes normalized,” said Warner. “It’s a journey that Australia has to go on.”

Australian veterinarians cautioned against  a blanket approach, saying some cats may develop behavioral or physical issues after being confined.

The total body count of Australia’s cats has not been measured, but Canadian researchers estimated in 2013 that cats kill 76 million to 416 million birds a year.