The Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Dr Steven Miles today (Saturday) officially launched a joint State-wide animal de-sexing campaign involving RSPCA Qld, participating vets and local councils.
The “Operation; Wanted’ campaign will see about 170 vets reducing their de-sexing fees by at least 20% for a period of three months.
An estimated 20,000 “extra animals’ were de-sexed last year, with the RSPCA expecting that number to top 30,000 in 2016. This year, 26 shires are contributing to the campaign’s promotion.
Launching the campaign at the RSPCA’s Wacol Animal Care Centre, Dr Miles called on people to de-sex their pets – for the sake of the environment.
“Anything that responsible pet owners can do to reduce this threat to our native wildlife – both in our national parks and in our own backyards – will help to make a real difference to our environment and this simple de-sexing procedure is a very good place to start,” Dr Miles said.
He said feral cats in particular were responsible for terrible damage to native animal populations, almost wiping out bilbies at Currawinya and Astrebla Downs National Parks.
“As an indication of the scale of the problem, since 2012 at Astrebla Downs the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has removed around 3000 feral cats in a $350,000 pest management program to help protect the endangered bilby,” he said.
“Feral cat programs also occur in other national parks, including Idalia National Park to help protect the bridled nail-tail wallaby.’
It’s estimated there could be up to 18 million feral cats in Australia. It’s been found cats eat more than 180 species of native birds, 64 species of mammals, 87 species of reptiles and 10 species of frogs.
RSPCA Qld spokesperson Michael Beatty said there was a massive pet “over- population’ not only in Queensland but across Australia.
“Nearly 45,000 animals come into our care every year and the vast majority of these have not been de-sexed,’’ he said. “We’ve got to get the message out there.
“Plus of course the reason we have such a massive feral cat and wild dog population is because people were not and are not de-sexing their pets’.
The advantages to having your pet de-sexed are:
- No risk of unwanted litters
- Reduces desire to roam
- Reduces risk of some cancers
- Reduces other unwanted behaviours such as urine spraying (cats)
- Cheaper Council registration fees
- Allows pets to be healthier and happier
Apart from the financial and responsible pet ownership incentives to persuade people to de-sex their pets, there are some prizes available as well. A Harley Davidson motorcycle can be won and also a pet friendly holiday by the beach for a week.