Fur flies over call to rid New Zealand of pet cats

Updated 25 January 2013
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Fur flies over call to rid New Zealand of pet cats

WELLINGTON: A campaign to eradicate New Zealand’s cats as a way of protecting native wildlife has raised the hackles of pet lovers, with critics leaping to the defense of their feline friends.
Gareth Morgan, a businessman turned philanthropist, has called for New Zealanders to give puss the boot, citing research showing the average cat kills at least 13 native birds or animals each year.
He said the figure was unacceptable in a country where many bird species had already been wiped out and 37 percent of those that remained, such as the flightless kiwi, were endangered because of introduced predators.
Morgan, best known for helping to ship a stray Emperor penguin dubbed Happy Feet back to Antarctic waters after it washed up near Wellington in 2011, said cat owners should keep their pets indoors and not replace them when they died.
“Naturally, I’m not suggesting you go out and knock your furry friend on the head right now,” he wrote in the Dominion Post newspaper Wednesday. “But if we are serious about conservation, then we must acknowledge that we are harboring a natural born killer.”
Morgan’s campaign has not gone down well in a country where a 2011 survey by the New Zealand Companion Animals Council showed almost half of all households own a cat, one of the highest rates in the world.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) executive director Bob Kerridge said Morgan had no right to tell people they could not have cats in their family.
“I say to Gareth Morgan, butt out of our lives,” he told television station TV3. “Don’t deprive us of the beautiful companionship that a cat can provide individually and as a family.”
Even on Morgan’s own website, opinion was running against his campaign, with three-quarters of respondents to an online poll answering negatively to the question: “Would you make your current cat the last one you own?.” John Innes, a wildlife ecologist with government research body Landcare, said Morgan’s argument that cats killed birds may be too simplistic, pointing out that they also kill rats, another major bird predator.



“No one’s ever actually done the numbers to see whether the number of birds that those rats would kill is bigger or less than the number that the cats kill,” he said.
“I’m not saying that [cats] are good for birds, but it’s not a stupid suggestion.”


DJ Avicii ‘could not go on any longer’: family

Updated 31 min 2 sec ago
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DJ Avicii ‘could not go on any longer’: family

  • Avicii was found dead on April 20 in Muscat, the capital of the Gulf sultanate Oman, where he had been on holiday with friends
  • The musician, whose real name was Tim Bergling, announced his retirement in 2016 saying that he wanted to leave the high-flying electronic music lifestyle.

STOCKHOLM: Swedish superstar Avicii, one of the world’s most successful DJs who died a week ago aged 28, “wanted peace” and “could not go on any longer,” his family said in an open letter on Thursday.
The musician, whose real name was Tim Bergling, was found dead on April 20 in Muscat, the capital of the Gulf sultanate Oman, where he had been on holiday with friends.
“He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness,” his family wrote in the letter, seen by AFP.
“He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace,” they added.
A spokeswoman for the artist declined to confirm whether he had committed suicide.
A police source in Oman said his death was not considered to be suspicious, adding that the circumstances would remain confidential at the request of the family.
He had made no secret of his health problems, including pancreatitis, triggered in part by excessive drinking linked to his party lifestyle.
“Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight,” his family said.
In 2016, Avicii stunned fans by announcing his retirement when he was just 26, saying that he wanted to leave the high-flying electronic music lifestyle.
“When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most -– music,” his family said.
His biggest hits included “Wake Me Up,” which went to number one across Europe in 2013 and featured the soul singer Aloe Blacc.
Avicii — who for years was one of the world’s most lucrative electronic musicians — in 2016 made number 12 on the list of top-paid DJs of Forbes magazine, which said he earned $14.5 million in the previous year.
“Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions,” his family said.
Avicii was among the first DJs to break through into the mainstream as electronic dance music grew over the past decade from nightclubs to Top 40 radio.
“An over-achieving perfectionist who traveled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress,” his family said.