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Brigitte Bardot slams Australia's two million cat cull

Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot © AFP

French actress Brigitte Bardot has condemned an Australian plan to cull two million feral cats to stop them harming native animals.Feral cats have been identified as the main culprit behind Australia's high rate of mammal extinction, with more than 10 per cent of species wiped out since Europeans settled there two centuries ago. Bardot urged the government to reconsider the "appalling" plan.

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Speaking to the public broadcaster ABC last week, Australia's environment Minister Greg Hunt likened the situation to "a tsunami of violence and death for Australia's native species", adding that "20 million cats across the country devour countless native animals every night".

Hunt said a target of eradicating two million feral cats had been set for 2020, in addition to creating feral-free enclosures to aid the recovery of birds and mammals among other measures.

The government has stressed the eradication of cats will be carried out humanely.

Bardot, who in 1986 established the Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals said Australia's public image was being hurt by its culling of animals.

"Your country is sullied by the blood of millions of innocent animals so please, don't add cats to this morbid record," Bardot wrote in the translated version of an open letter addressed to Hunt.

Bardot went on to say "this animal genocide is inhumane and ridiculous. In addition to being cruel, killing these cats is absolutely useless since the rest of them will keep breeding."

She said the money set aside to destroy the animals would be better spent on setting up a large-scale sterilisation campaign a solution echoed by the protection agency People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).

On Wednesday the group said the culling of animals had been proven in the past to be ineffective and called on the government to look for long-term, non-lethal solutions including suppressing the cats' fertility.

"Not only is shooting and poisoning cats cruel, culls have been shown to be unsuccessful in the long term," a spokesperson for Peta Australia told AFP.

"The use of poison in suburban areas also puts domestic cats, dogs and carnivorous wildlife at risk."

Earlier this year officials said that close to 700 koalas had been killed off in south-eastern Australia because overpopulation led to the animals starving, while feral camels and wild horses have been culled in the Outback to stop them destroying land.

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