Animal welfare groups voice concerns over children’s “feral cat” competition

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 18, 2023 |

Fire photo / Unsplash

The SPCA in Christchurch has expressed concern over a feral cat hunting competition for children, which is part of the North Canterbury Hunting event.

The annual competition, which serves as a fundraiser for Rotherham School and pool, attracted over 900 participants in 2022.

The event features various categories, including a junior hunting competition for participants aged 14 or younger.

Young hunters are encouraged to catch “feral cats” with the winner receiving $250 and a chance to win a $4,600 dirt bike prize.

Other animals targeted in the competition include possums, ducks, hares, rabbits, rats, and geese.

The SPCA and animal welfare advocates argue that the competition’s focus on feral cats poses a significant risk to both wild and domestic cats.

A spokesperson for the SPCA explained that it’s impossible to differentiate between feral, stray, or frightened domestic cats based on appearance alone. As a result, there is a high likelihood that a pet cat may be killed during the event.

Moreover, the SPCA points out that children often use air rifles in these types of competitions, which increases the chances of causing pain, distress, and prolonged death.

In Christchurch, cases of cats being shot without immediate death are not uncommon, with one reported incident occurring on April 17.

Instead of organising killing events, the SPCA advocates for education around humane and compassionate practices.

However, the SPCA acknowledges that the competition is not breaking any laws and that the SPCA is not in a position to enforce any action against event organisers.

SAFE spokesperson Will Appelbe echoed the SPCA’s concerns, highlighting the potential suffering of both wild and companion cats.

Appelbe criticised the event for encouraging young people to kill small animals and pointed out that there are numerous alternative fundraising methods for Rotherham School and pool that don’t involve hunting.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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