Opinion: If we want to be predator-free, maybe we should get rid of humans

OPINION: I woke up one morning and, as I often do, used the toilet. As I leaned down to lift the seat, a bird that had been hiding behind the toilet flew up and nearly gave me a heart attack.

I then chased it round the house before finally trapping it in a saucepan and setting it free.

The bird had been brought in by my cat, and had managed to hide itself behind the toilet.

My cat had long since got bored of waiting for it to reappear and left it to scare the hell out of me. It liked to play these little games. 

My cat was cute, but would bring birds or mice in and toy with them for a while before either leaving them to die a slow death, or me to find them. 

Cats are natural predators, but they also have a ruthless streak. They enjoy the thrill of the hunt and then the kill.

There is a reason Lassie was a dog.

If you fell down the stairs, landed on the floor and couldn't move a dog would bark and try and get help.

A cat would wait until it realised you weren't going to feed it and probably start munching on your face.

The furriest members of the Longley family.
The furriest members of the Longley family. Photo credit: Mark Longley / Newshub.

Even so, I don't think cats deserve the hard time they are once again getting.

Wellington wants to become a predator-free city, and there are calls to include cats as predators. Some have gone further, suggesting we cull cats. 

Sure, they kill birds and other native species, but if that was the criteria to get rid of a species we would be in severe danger ourselves.

The human footprint - not just in New Zealand, but globally - has caused far more damage to the animal kingdom than felines.

We kill other animals for sport, we mass-poison them if we think they are a pest and we bludgeon them to death if they are born the wrong sex.

We farm them, often in terrible conditions, so we can eat them. We have concreted over their habitats and driven may of them to extinction.

You get the picture.

Even Wellington Mayor Justin Lester agrees, telling The AM Show on Thursday morning: "Humans are probably the worst predators, but we're not going to kill humans - so let's not be silly about it."

I get the need to protect all under-threat species, but first and foremost from ourselves. So before we lay into cats, maybe we should turn the spotlight a little closer to home.

Mark Longley is the managing editor of Newshub.

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