Work as a journalist has taken me to a good number of locations on our planet. Many of those places I have enjoyed. Some I have found powerfully inspiring.
But there are two possible destinations that I have no intention of ever visiting. One is the continent of Antarctica. The other is Australia.
I’m certain there must be a significant sampling of congenial Aussies scattered around the world. And I have nothing against them as individuals.
It is their government that I frankly despise — a loathing inspired by its recently declared intention to exterminate, by the use of traps and poison, 2 million of the country’s estimated population of 20 million feral cats — descendants of companion felines brought in over the years as house pets by settlers from Europe.
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Australian authorities say the killing is necessary to prevent the extinction of various small mammals — the size roughly of chipmunks and voles.
They call the plan environmentally responsible.
I call it a monstrosity.
By whatever name, it is the result of longstanding indifference and neglect.
Prolific reproduction of homeless cats can be a problem in U.S. communities as well. But thanks to the efforts of numerous humane organizations and the volunteers who support them, the resort to mass killing is as needless as it is objectionable.
Far better are the well managed spay and neuter programs in place in many cities to govern feral cat numbers.
But such a solution requires the engagement of a concerned and compassionate public — for which a draconian bureaucratic fiat is no decent substitute.