Tuesday 22 September 2020

Killer cat owners may end up in court under wildlife protection laws

A killer cat? Photo: DutchNews.nl

Plans are being made to launch a test case trial compelling cat owners to keep their pets inside because of the risk to wild birds, campaigners have confirmed to DutchNews.nl.

Nieuwsuur reported on Sunday that ecologist and professor Chris Smit and law lecturer Arie Trouwborst had called for legal action because of the impact of cats on birds and reptiles.

Smit has now confirmed to DutchNews.nl that plans are being made for a test case. ‘The idea is that an NGO starts this process. [We are] currently discussing and looking for suitable parties to do this,’ he said.

Even by the lowest estimates, 32 birds a minute are being killed by domestic cats, Smit told Nieuwsuur. ‘The courts should have their say,’ Smit said.

Threat

Trouwborst published a paper last year arguing that the domestic cat (Felix Catus) is posing a serious threat to some 370 species in the Netherlands.

Under the European Bird and Habitat Directives countries have a legal obligation to protect wildlife, so allowing cats to roam and kill is illegal, Trouwborst says.

Some 140 million animals, from birds to bats, reptiles and fish, are thought to be killed annually by cats in the Netherlands and half the killings are carried out by cats with owners.

The Netherlands is home to between two and three million cats and some 10,000 feral cats and strays.

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