A hilarious interview by Salient co-editors with David Cunliffe:
Are you aware of the ‘Cats That Look Like David Cunliffe’ blog?
Why do so many cats look like you?
I think people have trawled the internet to find lots of cat photos that do, and it’s pretty funny.
So it’s misrepresentative of the wider cat population?
Yeah I think it’s unfair to cats.
Heh.Tags: cats, David Cunliffe
The SST reports:
Extremists “inspired by millionaire Gareth Morgan” are accused of deliberately killing cats in Northland, sparking a bitter fight between conservationists and cat-lovers.
Images of cats caught in traps – described by cat supporters as “horrifying” – have been posted on a Far North conservation group’s Facebook page.
But cat-lovers are accused of extremism too – sending abusive and threatening emails to community board members considering the fate of a controversial cat colony, sparking complaints to police.
The ugly spat centres on a colony of about 10 strays being fed on a council reserve in Paihia in the Bay of Islands.
Morgan labels the colony “vile” and a threat to wildlife. But its supporters describe themselves on Facebook as “soldiers” in the “Battle of Paihia”. Their “war” is against conservation group Bay Bush which seemed to revel in posting photos of dead cats on Facebook, and a community board that last week voted to remove the stray cats permanently.
Their hate figure is Morgan, the businessman and philanthropist turned anti-cat crusader. Auckland Cat Coalition member Anne Batley-Burton squarely blames him for the trouble.
“Gareth Morgan is inciting the conservationists and getting them all worked up about the cats going out and killing all the birds. It’s causing so much trouble between people in communities.”
Another Cat Coalition member, Diane O’Connor, believed Morgan’s crusade had encouraged “radicals” to harm cats. “There are extreme people who now think, ‘yay, we’ve got the green light to hurt, maim and make animals suffer’.”
She said some of the cats were caught in possum traps that had been converted especially to lure them.
The Bay Bush Action Facebook page featured images of trapped cats, including one graphic picture of a black tom hanging by its mouth.
Several people commented on the page that the pictures were like something
from a horror movie and were inappropriate, but others cheered on the killers. “Well done . . . I wonder how many baby kiwi that evil cat killed,” one post said. The images have since been removed, the group conceding they were inflammatory.
Sticking up photos of cats killed in traps is pretty sick.
Meanwhile, two members of the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board have complained to police after a Facebook group called Cats to Stay – set up in opposition to Morgan’s website Cats to Go – encouraged cat lovers from around the world to email councillors and Far North Mayor Wayne Brown ahead of a meeting last Wednesday to decide the fate of the Paihia strays.
“It was severe harassment,” said deputy chair Belinda Ward. “I’m a ‘terminator’, a ‘murderer’, a ‘cat killer’. I had three days of bombardment. It educated me that cyber bullying by extremists is alive and well.”
Extremism on the other side is equally unhelpful.Tags: cats
Gavin White from UMR blogs:
Some of you may have seen some of our research commented on in the media earlier in the week. The research has been interpreted as supporting Gareth Morgan’s campaign on cats, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near as clear cut as that.
In other words, don’t believe the spin of a campaign that selectively quoted the results.
The media reports focussed on one statistic: the fact that 54% of New Zealanders supported some form of controls that would reduce the future population of cats, once told that an Otago University study estimates 1.12 million native birds are killed by domestic cats each year in New Zealand. The question cannot, however, be treated in isolation: the other questions in the survey make clear that the sorts of controls people are actually prepared to have are actually pretty mild.
So what were the full results.
- 62% believe that all cats should be neutered or spayed.
- 57% think that cats should be banned from areas near wildlife reserves, forests and national parks
- 53% believe that all cats should be registered and microchipped
- 42% consider that all cats should wear bells
- Just 12% believe that cat owners should not replace their cats when they die
- Only 7% think that cats should be kept indoors at all times of the day.
This reflects I think the common sense approach of New Zealanders. Only 7% agree with the more extreme proposals from Morgan, but a bit over half agree with some of the more moderate stuff.
Gavin also points out:
In the question on banning cats from near wildlife reserves, forests and national parks, I suspect that many people would have used a reasonably narrow definition of the word ‘near’ (e.g. within a few streets of the park boundary). It would be stretching the case to say that the poll supports banning cats from whole suburbs or towns (like Karori, which is adjacent to the Zealandia wildlife reserve, or Ohakune, which is near the boundary of Tongariro National Park).
A very good point also. It’s good to have pollsters commenting on their own research publicly – they are often the one best placed to know what limits there are in interpreting what it means.Tags: cats, Gareth Morgan, Polls, UMR
Matthew Backhouse at the Herald reports:
The philanthropist’s Cats To Go website was initially met with outrage from cat lovers, but responses to questions in UMR Research’s monthly online survey show the public may be coming around to his views.
Not really. The survey showed that the moderate proposals have support – as they should. But there is total rejection for his more extreme proposals.
The survey of about 1000 people found more than half supported neutering all cats, registering and microchipping all cats, and banning cats from areas near wildlife reserves, forests and national parks.
This is not surprising. And if Morgan had campaigned on those issues solely, then I’d say he would have got a far better reception.
But two of the measures Dr Morgan advocates were met with far less support, with only 12 per cent agreeing cat owners should not replace them when they die and 7 per cent agreeing cats should be kept indoors at all times.
And these measures were at the core of his campaign. His website is called Cats To Go – not Cats To Be Registered. The top infographic on his site says “Make this cat your last”.
Far from endorsing his views, this poll is a total rejection of his extremism.Tags: cats, Gareth Morgan, Polls
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.Tags: cats, Gareth Morgan
No this isn’t a post on Graham Capill. It is back on the issue of cats. A reader e-mailed to say:
If Gareth Morgan had done anything sensible, like say putting “removing apex predators” in scholar.google.com, he would have found that it is well understood that removing a species such as cats (apex predator) from an ecosystem causes an explosion of smaller predators (meso predators). In NZ that would be all the Mustelidae (Weasals, Stoats, Ferrets) and Rats. It would also lead to an explosion in the numbers of mice who compete for food and possibly an increase in Hedgehogs (who also predate our birds). Here’s an example of what he might have found http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01347.x/full He could also have talked to some actual NZ ecologists, but hey.
Sci Blogs have had some good balanced posts on this also.Tags: cats, Gareth Morgan
As the story on Gareth Morgan’s call for a cat genocide is staying topical, I thought I’d elaborate on why it is such a near sociopathically bad idea.
First of all, I think most would agree that yes cats eats birds. And as far as I know you can not train a cat to only eat exotic birds and leave native birds alone, so cats eat native birds and it is bad for biodiversity if a species is wiped out.
I would certainly dispute that non-feral cats alone have killed any species, as do experts.. As almost all cats live in urban areas, any impact from domestic cats is geographically limited. It is estimated 25 million birds are killed annually by predators (possums, stoats, cats feral and domestic). It is also estimated that 1 million birds are killed annually by power lines, so maybe someone will advocate we get rid of electricity to help native birds. And wind turbines are a massive killer of birds overseas – around 1,000 per wind turbine.
Now most would agree it is beneficial to not have native birds killed. But do we as a country ban wind turbines and ban electricity lines, to protect birds? Of course we don’t. Why? Because the benefits from wind turbines and power lines exceed the detrimental impact on birds.
So the question is do we get benefits from domesticated cats? Now I absolutely accept not everyone likes cats. But that is not the issue. The issue is whether people should be allowed to have a cat as a pet because they do want one.
And this is where I think Gareth Morgan and others who advocate NZ should rid itself of domestic cats have something wrong with them, and are lacking in some basic human empathy. Cats can and do play a huge role in quality of life for many New Zealanders, especially more elderly New Zealanders. The companionship they get from cats is incredibly powerful, and the bond a human can have with a pet can be incredibly strong. If you are a elderly New Zealander living by yourself (and a dog is not an option as they need exercise), a cat can make a huge difference to quality of life. And to be honest anyone who thinks a few birds are more important than the happiness so many people get from their cats, has a warped sense of priorities.
Cat owners should of course be responsible. Stick a bell on your cat and get it spayed. But advocating that NZ become the only country (except maybe Antarctica in the world that has no cats is just bonkers, and anyone who seriously advocates it has what I regard as very warped values. Nothing wrong with not liking cats yourself, but something very wrong in advocating no one should have a cat.Tags: cats, Gareth Morgan
Amelia Wade at NZ Herald reports:
Top New Zealand economist Gareth Morgan is launching a campaign to eradicate domestic cats.
Dr Morgan has set up a website calledCats to Go, where he calls the animals sadists and natural-born killers that destroy native wildlife.
SPCA chief executive Bob Kerridge called the scheme “hare-brained” and offensive.
He understood Dr Morgan wanted people to stop buying new cats and to not replace pets when they die.
“People consider cats to be a member of the family. So he’s trying to, quite frankly, take away the civil liberties we all have to choose who we want in our home.”
What a fruitcake campaign. Absolute nuts. Why not also offer a toaster to every family who has one child only, as children are also bad for nature.
You should read the site – it is hilarious. Chapters include “Your domestic cat is not innocent” and he imagines a world without cats:
Imagine a New Zealand teeming with native wildlife, penguins on the beach, Kiwis roaming about in your garden.
Yes getting rid of cats will lead to kiwis in every garden, and penguins on every beach!
This is so nutty, I’d withdraw any funds I have in his KiwiSaver scheme, if I I had any there. I also like this FAQ:
So are you suggesting that I just go out and have my cat euthanised?
Not necessarily but that is an option.
So Morgan isn’t saying you must exterminate your pussy – just that he would like you to.Tags: cats, Gareth Morgan
UPDATE: As expected David Cunliffe has been sacked from the shadow cabinet, being removed from the front bench and his portfolios. David Shearer was unanimously backed in caucus and optimistically claims Labour is now totally united behind him. Never mind so many of his colleagues are keeping their position reserved for the real vote in February.
In tribute to the wonderful pre-election Cats that look like David Cunliffe page, here is the updated cat that looks like David Cunliffe following today’s caucus meeting.
We also have these photos taken just before the caucus meeting.
And the final photo was taken during the caucus meeting!cats, David Cunliffe, Humour