North Canterbury Hunting competition reinstates feral cat killing section

  • 21/06/2023

A previously-scrapped cat hunting competition has been reinstated despite being blasted by animal rights advocates.

The North Canterbury Hunting Competition pulled the feral cat killing section earlier this year after furious backlash to the story that went global.

However, the section has since been reinstated with new rules - this time only allowing adults to compete as opposed to children 14 and under, like previously.

In a post on its Facebook page, participants were told to only hunt feral cats with box traps, kill them using a minimum of a .22 rifle and only hunt them a minimum of 10km outside residential or lifestyle block areas. 

The post noted, "humane and efficient best practice techniques must be adhered to".

"If in doubt do not kill," the post said.

Will Appelbe, a spokesperson for animal rights group SAFE, said in a statement there was "still a significant risk" someone's pet cat would be killed.

"At the end of the day, [there] is little to no difference in the physical appearance of feral, stray and pet cats.

"There are far more effective strategies to protect native wildlife from cats like mandatory desexing, registration and microchipping."

SAFE was calling for better funding of cat rescue and adoption programmes.

"Indiscriminately killing cats considered feral and wild is inherently cruel and not a realistic solution," Appelbe said.

Before being scrapped in April, the competition provoked outrage and attracted worldwide attention - with UK comedian Ricky Gervais even weighing in and mocking it. 

Local charity Christchurch Animal Save has said it will protest the competition, taking place this weekend.