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23-06-2008 - Protect native wildlife from imported ‘pets’

Protect native wildlife from imported ‘pets’

Thursday 19th June 2008

Australian veterinarians have come out strongly against the importation of more wild-domestic pet hybrids like the savannah cats currently in quarantine.

“Our native wildlife is already facing an uphill battle against feral domestic cats,” says Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) President, Dr Mark Lawrie.

“Opening our country to these super-sized hybrids not only places new species at risk like koalas, but could mean other species move even closer to extinction.”

There are reportedly fourteen cerval-domestic hybrid cats in quarantine in the US awaiting importation to Australia. The Australian Veterinary Association joins animal welfare and wildlife organisations in calling for the government to stop them entering the country.

“Even with the best of intentions, pets do escape and get lost. With these large animals still genetically so close to their wild forebears, that means a huge risk for our precious wildlife.”

“There are also many other implications if these cats are allowed in. Canine hybrids from wolves could well be next, and we don’t know what other implications there might be for the agencies that will need to manage any problems caused by these animals.

“We’ve written to the government, urging that permission for these and other wild-domestic hybrids to enter Australia is refused,” said Dr Lawrie.

“It’s just too risky. I advise those wanting to own one of these cats to go to their local pound or shelter and adopt one of the many cats that need a new home,” said Dr Lawrie.

“In addition, the AVA is opposed to the forced matings between wild and domestic animals that gave rise to these hybrid species. There are significant animal welfare concerns with this practice, and we shouldn’t be condoning it by allowing the animals into Australia.”

“The Beale Review into quarantine currently underway has been given the task to look at issues like the laws and rules for importation, and these are exactly the kinds of issues the Review needs to consider to ensure that Australia’s biosecurity is protected,” he added.

Download: AVA2008-077 Protect native wildlife.pdf

Contact: Marcia Balzer, National Communications Manager Ph: 02 9431 5060, 0439 628 898
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