National Party leader Christopher Luxon says feral cats should be added to predator kill list

National Party leader Christopher Luxon has called for feral cats to be added to the Government's official kill list for predators that are wiping out native species.

Speaking to AM on Wednesday, the National leader said he agreed with hunters and farmers who want feral cats to be included on the list of predators to eradicate - alongside stoats, rats, possums and weasels.

Conservation Minister Willow-Jean Prime last week revealed on Paddy Gower Has Issues the Government will completely review its Predator Free 2050 strategy, and open public consultation on whether feral cats should be added.

There is even support for the move from the SPCA, which said it supports the humane killing of feral cats.

When asked on AM if he agreed with hunters and farmers that feral cats should be added to Predator Free 2050, Luxon said he did.

"I think they should be added to the pest population under Predator Free."

Feral cats cause major issues for farmers due to the parasitic disease toxoplasmosis in their poo, which is one of the most common causes of abortion in sheep.

Sheep can become infected when feral cats defecate in stocks' feed, hay and bedding.

Toxoplasmosis is also a significant threat to Hectors and Maui's dolphins, according to the Department of Conservation.

Rainwater and run-off carry the parasite's eggs into streams, rivers and stormwater drains, as well as wastewater when cat poo or kitty litter have been flushed down the toilet.

Hector's and Māui dolphins can then become infected when they ingest contaminated water or prey.

Predator Free 2050 gives us strategies, targets and funding to get rid of our most deadly pests - which currently only includes possums, stoats, rats and weasels.

In the past five years, the feral cat population has outnumbered possums, and it's estimated feral cats are killing 100 million native species every year.   

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