Cats avoid being classified as harmful to the environment

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Cats have escaped official classification as “harmful” to the environment in France, after a proposed amendment to consider them dangerous predators was rejected by the National Assembly.Bouches-du-Rhône MP François-Michel Lambert of the Liberté et Territoires party made a proposal to help “fight the extinction of certain species” and said that “cats should be part of the [group] of species eligible to be classified as “pests”. ”

The proposal was also signed by MPs Florence Dumas and Martine Wonner, but the latter two withdrew their names from the bill after it became clear that it would not be debated in the National Assembly.

The amendment was due to be debated this week (Thursday 8 October), but was rejected due to a “procedural problem”.

“Race against time” to save cash

Mr Lambert has since defended the amendment, news site HuffPost that it is a “race against time” to defend the initiative, and that cats are very dangerous for certain animals, of which they are a predator.

He said: “With each passing day we risk – in the hills of Marcel Pagnol – the end of a species. An endemic lizard may be less sexy than a cat, but it could disappear tomorrow, or within five years, if we don’t make the right decisions [to protect it].

“In these hills… we see cats who are super predators, who get rid of everything, we can’t do anything about it. They are protected, and that’s good, but for these [other] species, 20 years from now, their stories could only be paper and memories.

Mr Lambert admitted that he had added the signatures of Ms Dumas and Ms Wonner on the amendment “by mistake”.

Both MPs sought to distance themselves from the amendment after it emerged that it was allegedly backed by Willy Schraen, the controversial chairman of the hunting group, the National Federation of Hunters. The charge was brought by the animal welfare association, the Bardot Foundation.

Mr Schraen himself has separately suggested that cats are a “danger” to nature, are a “real problem for biodiversity”, and should be captured if they are found more than 300 meters from homes.

But Mr. Lambert has denied any ties to Mr. Schraen. He said, “This is not about hunting. It’s sad people have to be honest. I only met Mr. Schraen once, maybe two or three years ago, and I have no relationship with him; I don’t know if he knows I exist.

Species in distress

Cats were previously considered harmful to the environment, especially as they are becoming more popular as pets.

According to a study by the Société Française pour l’Etude et la Protection des Mammifères of the Mammalian Protection Society, “mortality due to predatory behavior of cats in garden birds increased by at least 50% between 2000 and 2015 “.

And the bird protection group, the Bird Protection League (LPO), said cats are responsible for at least 25% of bird deaths in the countryside.

However, the LPO suggested that there are other methods to limit their predatory nature, without requiring that they be classified as “pests”. Anne-Laure Dugué, head of the “Birds in Distress” program at the LPO, said that sterilizing domestic cats is one such method, while keeping them closer to their homes and gardens, and preventing them from roaming. to venture that far.

But Mr Lambert said he may seek to resubmit the amendment to the National Assembly and has not ruled out other means of debating the issue.

He said: “If there is any other way to do it other than through an administrative battle, I will support it.”

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