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New Zealand: Cat-killing competition sparks controversy as children take part

New Zealand: Cat-killing competition sparks controversy as children take part

Image source: © canva
Natalia Witulska,
04.07.2024 16:00

A controversial annual competition in New Zealand is making headlines once again. The event involves hunting and killing cats, and children regularly participate. As expected, this has sparked a heated debate between organisers and animal rights activists.

Many countries have traditions or behaviours that others may consider unusual, strange, or dangerous. Bullfighting, or corrida, in Spain or Mexico, is regularly criticised by many. Italians cannot fathom eating pizza with ketchup or garlic sauce, and the British are perplexed by those who dislike tea with milk. However, New Zealand has taken absurdity to a new level.

New Zealand faces a recurring problem: a plague of feral cats that significantly threatens the ecosystem. The authorities struggle to control the population of these roaming animals, leading to a rather unusual, drastic, and controversial solution. Every summer, competitions are held to kill as many feral cats as possible, with children participating in the "game" and receiving prizes for their efforts.

Unusual cat-killing competition

The competition takes place in rural areas of the North Canterbury region, combining fundraising for the local community with hunting rabbits, ducks, and possums. In 2023, feral cats were added as a new hunting category, outraging animal activists. Organiser Matt Bailey defended the move, stating that cats carry diseases and threaten native wildlife, so it's better they are caught. During this year's event, 340 cats, many of them kittens, were killed. It’s important to note that children participated in this activity.

Due to the graphic nature of the photograph posted on theguardian.com, we will not display it here. The image shows dead cats hanging on a fence, surrounded by people admiring the 'trophies'. The most successful hunters were lavishly rewarded. According to radiozet.pl, the competition's prize included $500 New Zealand dollars (around €300) for the person who hunts the most cats and $1,000 (around €600) for whoever catches the largest animal.

Source: theguardian.com, radiozet.pl

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