Nearly 400 animals dead

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A controversial competition allowing New Zealand children to hunt feral cats for cash prizes has produced its largest haul to date, with nearly 400 cats killed during this year’s highly protested event.
The annual hunt, open to children and adult participants, mainly targets New Zealand’s large feral cat population though participants can also hunt deer, pigs, ducks, possums and rabbits.
Over 1,500 people, including 440 children, took part in this year’s bloody affair, according to the Times UK.
5 The New Zealand hunt for feral animals is open to both children and adults. The competition mainly targets the large feral cat population. thesavemovement/Instagram
While the event is met with swift backlash each year, event organizer Matt Bailey defended the tradition, calling the country’s feral cat population “possessed by the devil.”
“Out here in the country, we do things a bit differently,” Bailey said on Tuesday after the event, adding that the publicity generated by protesters has “been the best thing that has happened to the competition”.
He continued: “These are possessed by the devil or the like the devil on methamphetamine. These are feral wild beasts.”
“They will try and attack you, if you get your hand near the cage, they will try and have you, you can see the evil in their eyes,” he added.
One participant killed 65 cats, winning the $500 prize for the most cats killed.
A $1,000 prize for the largest dead cat was also awarded.
There were clashes between protesters and participants, with protesters saying they had to leave when children began throwing rocks at them.
5 While the event is met with swift backlash each year, its organizer defended the tradition. thesavemovement/Instagram
5 Feral and domestic cats are a serious threat to New Zealand’s biodiversity and wildlife as they prey on their native birds, lizards, bats and insects. Alamy Stock Photo
Feral and domestic cats are a serious threat to New Zealand’s biodiversity and wildlife as they prey on their native birds, lizards, bats and insects.
This year’s competition raised a bout$60,000 for a local school and community pool, and venison from the deer hunt has been processed and frozen to donate to food banks, according to The Guardian.
The event originally began as a local wild pig hunting competition but eventually began to include cats as farmers noticed their growing numbers.
There were safeguards to ensure none of the cats involved were domesticated pets. The cats were caught in box traps and a .22 calibre rifle was later used to kill captured animals.
5 There were clashes between protesters and participants, and protesters said they had to leave when children began throwing rocks at them. thesavemovement/Instagram
5 While feral cats are the main targets of the hunt, participants can also hunt deer, pigs, ducks, possums and rabbits Alamy Stock Photo
According to Bailey, new laws are needed to stop people from ditching their unwanted cats in the countryside.
“They just turn up on the side of the road, so people coming out of Christchurch are just discarding these animals, thinking they’re doing the right thing because they don’t have the money to put them down,” he said.
Meanwhile protesters and opposing groups like the Animal Justice Party say alternative methods to managing the growing cat populations should be considered, including trap-to-neuter programs.
“If we genuinely care about bird conservation and wildlife protection, we need individuals to take responsibility for their cats by neutering to prevent unplanned breeding and the subsequent dumping of unwanted litters,” it said.

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