Feral cats - an export market?

To: Allan Richardson <>
Subject: Feral cats - an export market?
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:17:24 +1100
Those farmers who are good operators work hard to cull goats as best they can. 
Unfortunately, there are always slackers who see goats as easy money. Ask any 
Feral Animal Control Officer.

Also, there is the ongoing problem with residual populations of goats on 
various Crown Lands. There is never enough money allocated in budgets for 
anything like effective control. Again, just ask any FECO.

Carl Clifford

> On 19 Feb 2015, at 8:05 pm, Allan Richardson <> wrote:
> Hi Phil,
> The problem with making a business venture out of any pest species, is that 
> once up an running, the business proprietors have a vested interest in 
> sustaining the source of their business.
> Goats in NSW seem to be a case in point - I think there was a hope that a 
> value placed on their head would make farmers eradicate them, but those I’ve 
> spoken to see them as a bank account they can draw on every year, just like 
> any other flock. The numbers of goats we saw out west on a recent trip was a 
> little overwhelming.
> Regards,
> Allan
>> On 19 Feb 2015, at 10:12 am, Philip Veerman <> wrote:
>> I would like to add a bit to this. When I was in China 5 years ago at
>> various places (though mostly in the poorer small cities), I often saw a
>> cage with one or a few kittens (not adult cats) delivered to the
>> restaurants, the cage would just stay out on the footpath until needed. It
>> was not very nice for the young cats to be in a little cage with all the
>> people walking by, not to mention the vast numbers of cars, bikes, etc. At
>> first I wondered why restaurants, rather than pet shops would receive young
>> cats. In general the demand for cats was not huge, compared to other meat
>> sources. There may be something in it that they like the meat to be freshly
>> killed. Then again I did not see or was not told of these mentioned on the
>> menus (It doesn't help that I can't read Mandarin!) Can you imagine a live
>> export trade of mature feral cats from Australia to Asia? I doubt it.......
>> Quite apart from the PR outrage it would raise from within Australia. Why
>> would they be interested in the huge logistic problems and costs of
>> obtaining cat meat from remote parts of Australia? They have more than
>> enough feral cats within their own cities and no doubt rural areas. Sure it
>> is a nice idea what has been put forward from our point of view but I
>> suggest it is fanciful. For the scheme to be big enough to work to fulfil
>> our wishes, it would need to appeal to huge numbers of people. The huge
>> numbers of people is the class of the population that are very poor. They
>> sure are not interested in doing this for the cause of rare species
>> conservation in Australia. They would not be remotely interested in, nor
>> aware of these issues. The Chinese (especially the non wealthy ones) are
>> interested in conservation of the Giant Panda and a few other species but
>> that is about all. Their own lives are hard enough. It appeared to me that
>> generally Chinese people have little concept of any difference between wild
>> fauna and farmed food animals (although I'll admit I am generalising and my
>> sample size of knowledge is small). And yes it is also my experience that
>> Chinese people (e.g. my Chinese former wife and her son) would probably
>> prefer to eat such things rather than eat lamb, as Charles says they don't
>> like the smell of lamb). 
>> Similarly I have just returned from Philippines, where most people are far
>> poorer than in China, the huge numbers of stray and partially wanted cats
>> and dogs just living on the street and presumably eating human food scraps,
>> rodents, Tree Sparrows and whatever other little things they can find, would
>> be a far easier source of food than by obtaining wild cats in remote
>> Australia (although I did not detect any culinary interest by the
>> Philippinos in eating cats). In any case if there is a market, the economics
>> would need to be generated with huge financial subsidies by Australia such
>> that the local price in Asia would need to be negligible for this to work in
>> order to compete with local supply. Some may say sure Asians spend huge
>> amounts on exotic food and yes some very wealthy ones do. This does generate
>> conservation tragedies for various rare species but I doubt that cats are
>> included in that. But there are relatively few of the very wealthy compared
>> to so many who are very poor. 
>> These are just my observations and opinions (which I would not have had any
>> idea about without my travels there). Others may have more detailed economic
>> insights.  
>> Philip
>> -----Original Message-----From: Birding-Aus
>>  On Behalf Of Peter Shute
>> Sent: Thursday, 19 February 2015 12:52 AM
>> To: Charles    Cc: birding-aus    Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Feral cats - an
>> export market?
>> If that poisoning method is more selective then great. I don't know if
>> exporting is a good idea though. Apart from the outcry, any hunting that
>> generates profit is likely to either fizzle out when density gets low, or
>> encourage people to breed more of them instead of hunting.
>> Peter Shute
>> Sent from my iPad
>>> On 18 Feb 2015, at 10:07 pm, Charles <> wrote:
>>> Hi Carl,
>>> True in some regards. A friend of mine from Myanmar likes to eat cat
>>> (and can't stand eating lamb - hates the smell).
>>> Cats are very hard to catch.
>>> They are every where.
>>> I saw a very large black feral cat last August (2014) near the famed
>>> Golden-shouldered parrot site near Musgrave Roadhouse.
>>> As you know the GSP is primarily a ground feeder.
>>> I've seen feral cats at most of my favourite bird watching sites
>>> across Australia (from Nightcap NP to Cape York to Fitzgerald River 
>>> NP).
>>> I spoke with a guy from Northern Queensland last week who said he uses
>>> them for bait in crab nets. They are excellent bait he said.
>>> This approach to cull them is the best I've seen for a while, see link
>>> below:
>>> nique-for-controlling-feral-cats-20141107-11iehz.html
>>> Cheers,
>>> Charles Hunter
>>> Bronte, Sydney
>>>> On 18 Feb 2015, at 6:29 pm, Carl Clifford <>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> Cat meat is quite popular in parts of Asia and there is a good market
>>>> for cat fur in China and Korea. Perhaps there is a chance for 
>>>> Australian entrepreneurs to not only take advantage of these markets 
>>>> and help the control. After all, just shooting the cats and leaving 
>>>> the carcasses where they fall only gives other cats a free meal.
>>>> Just a thought.
>>>> Carl Clifford
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