National inquiry into domestic and feral cat impacts on Australia’s wildlife and habitats

Feral cat with Major Mitchell cockatoo in its mouth. Photo: Mark Marathon | CC BY-SA 4.0

The federal government has opened up a new inquiry into the problem of feral and domestic cats in Australia and is seeking public submissions.

Committee Chair Mr Ted O’Brien MP said that the inquiry will take a national approach to the problem of feral and domestic cats and their impact on native wildlife and habitats across Australia.

“We’re not talking about loveable, lasagne-loving, lazy cats like Garfield, but rather predatory carnivores that hunt and kill endangered native animals,” said Mr O’Brien.

“We plan to assess their prevalence and impact, the effectiveness of current control measures and the interaction between domestic cat ownership and the feral cat problem.”

The terms of reference for the Committee’s inquiry are:

  1. the prevalence of feral and domestic cats in Australia;
  2. the impact of feral and domestic cats including on native wildlife and habitats;
  3. the effectiveness of current legislative and regulatory approaches;
  4. the effectiveness of Commonwealth action and cooperation with states and territories on this issue, including progress made under the Threat Abatement Plan, national framework and national declaration relating to feral and domestic cats in Australia;
  5. the efficacy (in terms of reducing the impact of cats), cost effectiveness and use of current and emerging methods and tools for controlling feral cats, including baiting, the establishment of feral cat-free areas using conservation fencing, gene drive technology;
  6. the efficacy of import controls for high risk domestic cat varieties to prevent the impacts of feral and domestic cats, including on native wildlife and habitats;
  7. public awareness and education in relation to the feral and domestic cat problem; and
  8. the interaction between domestic cat ownership and the feral cat problem, and best practice approaches to the keeping of domestic cats in this regard.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy commenced the inquiry into the problem of feral and domestic cats in Australia on Tuesday 23 June 2020.

The Committee will accept submissions addressing the terms of reference above until 30 July 2020.

Further information about the committee’s inquiry is available on the Parliament of Australia website.


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