BETHESDA, Md., USA – April 21, 2021 – Alley Cat Allies has launched a special investigation into a ghastly mass-shooting of feral cats, also called community cats, directed by the Port of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, that left at least 12 cats dead, maimed or missing. Becky Robinson, the president and founder of Alley Cat Allies, is calling on the Port’s leadership to immediately end all killing and instead embrace humane, nonlethal management practices for cats.
“The Newcastle Port Authority called this a ‘cull,’ but there is no whitewashing the fact that this was a massacre, plain and simple,” Robinson said. “Cats are sentient creatures who feel pain, and the cats who were the victims of this late-night hunt by the Port Authority endured horrific injuries and tremendous suffering. Killing cats does not have a rightful place in conservation strategy. The Port Authority must stop shooting and killing cats and needs to make a public commitment that it will never happen again. We demand that they adopt sane, humane, effective methods centered on spay and neuter, also known as desexing.”
Alley Cat Allies, in collaboration with supporters in Australia and the Animal Justice Party of Australia, learned that the Newcastle Port Authority hired a contract killer to hunt down and shoot sterilized cats at the Stockton Breakwall, a public beach jetty, in December 2020. The next morning, devastated caregivers for the cats discovered a bloody, disturbing scene.
One cat, Rosie, was shot in the eye. The attack left another cat, Lily, blind and with a hernia. As many as eight cats are missing and presumed killed. Some surviving cats still suffer from their gunshot wounds as caregivers scramble to trap them. The caregivers and local veterinarians have grave concerns that these powerless, wounded cats remain in danger.
The Port Authority’s attack came despite the fact that the cats were sterilized, vaccinated and cared for through a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program practiced by compassionate caregivers. TNR successfully reduced the number of cats at the Port from 100 to approximately 40 in recent years. These caregivers were neither warned about the hunt nor told that the Port took issue with community cats in the area to begin with.
Killing cats is not an effective means of population control because of a well-documented scientific phenomenon known as the Vacuum Effect. When cats are killed, new cats move in to take their place.
“The Port’s actions serve as a reminder that in far too many places around the world, including in Australia and the United States, there persists an archaic mindset that killing cats is viable and necessary,” Robinson continued. “Humane, nonlethal sterilization is being utilized all over the globe because it works. Killing does not work. The Newcastle Port Authority needs to wake up to the reality that hunting cats is not acceptable and join the rest of civilized society with a lifesaving policy for its cats.”
The Alley Cat Allies investigation has prompted international condemnation of the Newcastle Port Authority’s actions. Alley Cat Allies has posted a short documentary film with the findings from its investigation at alleycat.org/StocktonBreakwallCats, where it will continue to post more information from the case as it becomes available.
About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the leader of a global movement to protect cats and kittens. Now in our 31st anniversary year, we are joined by more than 650,000 supporters worldwide.
Alley Cat Allies believes every cat deserves to live out his or her life to the fullest. We exposed an entrenched system in which animal control agencies and shelters have been killing millions of cats for over a century. Today, the programs we introduced in the United States are mainstream.
To achieve our goals, we collaborate with grassroots advocates, animal shelters, municipal managers, and lawmakers to replace deadly laws and policies with ones that protect cats. We defend all cats by offering cutting edge education online, in person, and through one-on-one dialogue. We advance lifesaving innovations such as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR), high-quality, high-volume spay and neuter, microchipping, anti-declawing legislation, and any program that best serves the interests of cats.
Our website is www.alleycat.org, and we are active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.