New Zealand children’s competition to kill as many cats as possible gets canceled due to backlash
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The annual New Zealand hunting competition typically sees hundreds compete to murder as many wild animals as possible, including hares, pigs and deer.
However this year, The North Canterbury Hunting Competition caused an uproar after announcing a new category to their event, which would see children 14 and under hunt for feral cats roaming the streets.
The competition said that the child that killed the most feral cats would win a cash prize of NZ $250 (USD $153.91).
Any child who killed microchipped cats would have their entire entry disqualified.
However, the announcement prompted outrage from many animal welfare organizations.
“Disqualifying dead cats with microchips is too little too late,” said Will Appelbe, spokesperson for animal rights group SAFE, as per The Guardian.
“It’s not even an ambulance, but a grave at the bottom of the cliff.”
While the hunting organization said the event was to help raise money for a local school, Appelbe said there are loads of other ways to generate funds that didn’t involve ‘sending children to kill cats’.
The Canterbury SPCA also said in a statement they were ‘extremely concerned’ about the competition.
“There is a good chance someone’s pet may be killed during this event,” they said.
“In addition, children often use air rifles in these sorts of events which increase the likelihood of pain and distress, and can cause a prolonged death.”
As a result of the intense backlash, The North Canterbury Hunting Competition said it would terminate the event, revealing that they had received ‘vile and inappropriate emails’.
"We are disappointed and apologize for those who were excited to be involved in something that is about protecting our native birds, and other vulnerable species," the group wrote on Facebook.
They added that anyone participating in the competition must comply with the Arms Act 1983 and The Animal Welfare Act 1999.
They continued: “Please remember we are a group of volunteers who are trying to raise money for our local school and pool. This fundraising effort is critical in aiding the local school to employ a board funded third teacher and gives our local community and kids greater opportunities.”
Stuff reported that news comes following a North Canterbury cat dying from sepsis after being shot with an air rifle.
SPCA inspectorate team leader Sam Cairns said that the cat was found and handed in by a resident.
“While we are uncertain of whether this cat was shot during the [hunting] event, it demonstrates that the use of an air rifle caused unnecessary pain and distress for the cat,” a spokesperson said, as per the outlet.