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NZVA Backs Select Committee Report Recommending National Cat Legislation

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) has welcomed the Environment Select Committee’s report to government that recommends a nationwide cat management framework, saying it’s a ‘step in the right direction’.

After considering a petition by campaigner Erica Rowlands, the Environment Committee has recommended to government that legislation is developed to implement a nationwide cat management framework outlining that cats should be registered, desexed, and microchipped with appropriate exemptions. This model would help New Zealand achieve the national goal of being predator free by 2050.

NZVA Head of Veterinary Services (Companion Animal) Sally Cory said the NZVA, and its Companion Animals Veterinarians (CAV) branch, were very pleased to read the final report released by the Environment Select Committee. "The NZVA strongly supports the principles of responsible cat ownership that contribute to creating a harmonious relationship between people, animals and the environment," she said.

"The introduction of a national approach to cat management is a step in the right direction for positive welfare outcomes for cats, as well as supporting the principles of responsible cat ownership. It is also integral in addressing and reducing the number of unwanted cats in New Zealand as well as protecting our wildlife."

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The Environment Select Committee report acknowledged there had been a marked change in the public’s attitude towards responsible dog ownership since the introduction of The Dog Control Act in 1996 and believed that a similar approach to cats would be a positive and significant move.

Sally Cory said, "The introduction of a legislative framework is in alignment with the National Cat Management Strategy Group which advocates for responsible cat ownership, humane cat management, and environmental protection."

The National Cat Management Strategy Group (NCMSG) includes the NZVA, Companion Animals New Zealand, the SPCA, Predator Free NZ, Local Government New Zealand, and observer members Ministry for Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation. It has extensively reviewed cat issues in New Zealand and recommended comprehensive cat management, including requirements that companion cats be desexed, microchipped with registered details, and kept at home.

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