National 24-hour cat curfew to protect endangered species
AUSTRALIAN cat owners could have to keep their pets indoors permanently under a '24-hour cat curfew' proposed by the government.
The proposal has been made by Australia's first 'threatened species commissioner', Gregory Andrews, in a bid to protect native animals facing extinction due to cat attacks, according to the The Sydney Morning Herald.
He said the government will seek public support for "24-hour containment requirements for domestic cats, particularly close to identified conservation area of significance".
The measure is already in place in some jurisdictions and could be rolled out across the country.
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The country is currently facing a cat crisis as it struggles to cope with huge numbers of the animals.
Cats were introduced to the area about 200 years ago by European settlers and bred and spread rapidly across the Australian continent and New Zealand. According to one estimate, the approximately 20 million cats in Australia kill around 75 million native animals a day.
Australia is thought to have one of the worst extinction records in the world, losing about 29 native mammal species since the European arrival. It now lists some 1,800 species as under threat.
The government has also proposed a 'cat cull' to kill 2 million cats in a bid to preserve other species. The proposal has proved controversial and been condemned by animal rights activists. Speaking last week, the French actress Brigitte Bardot said the country was "sullied by the blood of millions of innocent animals."