The owners of cats from the German city Walldorf were ordered in mid-May to keep their animals indoors until the end of August to protect a rare bird during the breeding season.
The purpose of the decree is to help ensurecomb larkwhich makes its nest on the ground and therefore is an easy prey for cat hunters.
The population of this bird in Western Europe has declined sharply in recent decades. Although classified as a species of “least concern” in Europe by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
“The survival of the species depends – among other things – on each chicken“said the Walldorf authorities.
The rule applies to all cats in the southern part of the city and will be repeated for the next three years, from April to August.
Owners risk lived of 500 euros if their cat is found wandering outside and can be fined up to € 50,000 if their animal injures or kills a comb lark.
Should I keep my cat indoors?
If you live in Walldorf, the decision is no longer in your hands. But for those who live elsewhere, the answer may not be so unequivocal.
“Suddenly preventing cats that are used to going out from doing so means huge restrictions and stress for the animals“, said German Animal Welfare Associationthe largest German organization for the protection of animalsin a statement to Euronews Green.
“The negative impact of cats on the population of songbirds is in any case controversial and, as far as we know, it has not yet been proved for the cam lark at Walldorf. “
The organization supports protection measures for the top lark, but believes that no animal can be treated as a second-class animal.
“Define domestic cats as’guilty“The protection of certain bird species also blames them for the fact that humans have destroyed habitats and food sources for wild species over a long period of time and thus threatened their existence.“, Concludes the association’s statement.
This feeling is shared by Daniela Schneider, an activist from Four Paws Germany.
“The impact of agricultural intensification, monocultures, insect mortality and increased land development is likely to be greater than some bird-hunting cats.“, She explains to Euronews Green.
“These causes are caused by humans. It would be better to fight these instead of blaming the cats for this situation. “
Are cats a danger to wildlife?
The European animal feed industry has found out 26% of all European households have at least one cat. This inevitably leads to a quarter of the population having strong feelings about this issue of depriving domestic cats of their travels.
A 2013 study estimated that stray domestic cats in the United States kill approx 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals Per year. The authors acknowledged, however, that non-owner cats are responsible for the majority of this mortality.
The latest figures from Mammal community indicate that at United Kingdom, cats catch up to 100 million animals in spring and summer, including 27 million birds. According to them, the most frequently caught bird species are sparrows, blue tits, sunbirds and starlings.
Despite these statistics, the UK’s largest nature conservation organization, the RSPB, says there is no clear scientific evidence that this is leading to a decline in bird populations.
“Millions of birds die naturally each year, mainly from starvation, disease, or other forms of predation“, They state on their website.
“It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway. causes before the next breeding season, so cats have hardly any major influence on the populations. “
In Walldorf, the regional newspaper Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung reported on Wednesday that the leader of the local animal welfare association was considering taking legal measures to contest the decreedisproportionate“.
Cat owners affected by the new decree can exercise their right to protest until mid-June.
Article translated from English