Published on: January 25, 2013by Kevin Coupe
Okay, this story has nothing to do with business.
(Well, that's not entirely true. It could impact sales in one specific category.)
But I found it fascinating anyway. And perfect for a Friday Eye-Opener.
We have a lot of discussion, most of it civil, here on MNB about the proper role of government regulation.
Well, there will be some who will argue that the government of New Zealand could be going a bridge too far, if it were to follow through on recommendations being made by an economist there named Gareth Morgan, who has suggested that New Zealand should eliminate all cats from the island nation.
That's right. He wants New Zealand to be the first cat-free nation in the world.
Now, he's not advocating the killing of existing cats. Just spaying and neutering them, allowing them to live to a ripe old age, but not permitting them to have kittens and also blocking the import of any and all cats into New Zealand.
The reason? According to Slate.com, it all comes down to birds.
"Cats are particularly damaging in island ecosystems that are home to species found nowhere else on earth," the story says. "A lot of island birds and mammals evolved in the absence of cat-size predators. They nest on the ground and have no defenses against an invasive species that plays with and then decapitates its victims. Cats have endangered or caused the extinction of bird species in Hawaii, Australia, the Chatham Islands, and New Zealand, among others. Morgan points out that 40 percent of New Zealand’s land birds are extinct, and 37 percent of the survivors are endangered."
Cats, the argument goes, essentially are parasites. They used to have a purpose, when they served as a useful way to kill rodents that would invade homes and food stockpiles. But now, not so much.
Now, I'm not a cat guy. We've had one cat over the years, named Michelob, and we loved her despite the fact that she had an enormous dislike of kitty litter. (No, like many people I know, she liked the feel of cold porcelain ... so she pooped and piddled in the bathtub. Multiple times a day.)
But who is to say that these birds have a greater right to survive than cats?
I would also argue that the New Zealanders who subscribe to the "ban the cats" movement should be careful.
Because, as they say in Jurassic Park, life will find a way.
It has been observed many times that while dogs know we own them, cats believe that they own us.
The cats will survive in New Zealand. They'll live in the underground, they'll multiply, and they won't be happy. And few things, in my experience, are worse than a cat with an attitude. (Just ask my old bathtub...)
- KC's View: