Shane Cowlishaw at Stuff reports:
Gareth Morgan has shown his claws in a public catfight with an SPCA board member.
The philanthropist and economist held a public meeting in the Wellington suburb if Karori last night, where he put his case for creating the first “confined cat” suburb, to protect native birds in the Zealandia sanctuary.
As part of his presentation, he produced a “Wanted” poster naming Wellington SPCA board members, accusing them of being ill-equipped to deal with the cat catastrophe.
But one of the wanted men was in the audience, and took issue with Dr Morgan.
Emanuel Kalafatelis said he had been prepared to listen until things got personal. He pleaded: “For God’s sake, let’s not jump into this. Let’s at least get all the facts. Let’s get New Zealand-based facts. Not global facts.”
Dr Morgan responded: “I’m not going to support any organisation which in effect is attacking New Zealand’s wildlife . . . these people have no ethical compass.
Pathetic and puerile. Also a degree of bullying.
He stressed he was not campaigning for the eradication of all cats, but simply restrictions on where they could roam.
“This is not an assault on indoor cats. I don’t care how many confined cats you have – what I care about is where they wander.”
But that is not true. His website is called “Cats to Go“. It has a section on how nice NZ would be with no cats at all. He advocates no one has a cat at all, rather than just keep them inside.
There is room to debate the SPCA policy on cat colonies. There is also room to have an education campaign on keeping cats indoor, putting a bell on them etc. A debate on those issues would be good.
But you can’t both have a sober sensible debate on that, and also be the hysterical person launching websites calling for all cats to go, and personally vilifying SPCA board members.
You can choose the option that gets lots of publicity for yourself, and achieves nothing but pisses people off. Or you can choose the harder option of trying to have a sensible sober debate on responsible cat ownership. It is a shame Morgan has chosen the former and goes for headlines over effectiveness.