Alf has some advice for an Invercargill woman who has been given 21 days to dispose of 22 of the cats at her city home.
She would be doing our export drive a favour if she takes this advice, which is to slaughter the cats and ship them off to a country where the people fancy making a meal of a moggy.
The woman is Averil Gardiner.
A district court judge has found charges against her proved.
Neighbours and the Invercargill City Council have been trying since 2011 to persuade Gardiner to give up most or all of her estimated 25 or 26 cats.
Last year she was charged with breaching a council bylaw by failing to comply with a notice instructing her to reduce the number of cats to no more than three, and also faced a Health Act charge of allowing cats to create a nuisance.
After a judge-alone trial, Judge David Saunders told Gardiner: ”The time has come for reality to sink in”, convicting her, fining her, and ordering her to dispose of all her cats bar three.
Fair to say, this Gardiner woman has a few options to consider other than the one being suggested by the hard-working member for Eketahuna North.
Sarah McKenzie, who appeared for the council, said the SPCA was available to ”take the cats away tomorrow” [Wednesday], but Gardiner’s counsel, Simon Claver, said Gardiner had approached a cat-fostering group which needed three weeks to find homes for the animals.
The judge said he was satisfied from the evidence that Gardiner had many cats on her property and her lack of control had created a nuisance for neighbours.
On the charge of breaching the bylaw he fined her $400 – the maximum penalty available is $500 – and ordered her to pay court costs of $130.
He also ordered her to pay $750 towards prosecution costs, saying it was fair she paid something.
Ratepayers and taxpayers had been ”hit with a double whammy” as ratepayers were funding the prosecution and Gardiner was receiving legal aid for her defence, he said.
On the Health Act charge he ordered her to pay court costs of $130 and said the best outcome was for her to comply with the abatement order.
He warned if she did not comply, further charges could be laid and she could face non-compliance fees of $50 a day, plus a significant contribution towards prosecution costs.
Gardiner accordingly has to raise more than a few dollars to pay the fines which is a good reason for her to consider the slaughter option and have the cats turned into good tucker for foreigners with a fondness for it.
So where could the cats be sent to feed hungry citizens?
Just a few weeks ago the Swiss animal welfare charity, SOS Chats Noiraigue, was campaigning to criminalise the eating of cats and dogs in Switzerland. It was claiming that 3% of the country’s population secretly tucks into a bit of moggy. That’d be 240,000 people.
It appears that the Swiss do enjoy eating cats. At least, cat features on traditional Christmas menus in some rural parts of the country. For example, if you’re interested, here’s a recipe for roasted cat.
It’s also legal to buy and sell cat meat there (unlike the UK) so, if you want to eat Felix and his furry friends, there’s nothing stopping you.
The Daily Mirror referred to an interview in a Swiss website in 2012. In this, a Rhine Valley farmer explained how he felt about eating animals we keep as house pets.
He said, “There is nothing odd about it. Meat is meat.”
Mrs Grumble dug out an item that lists several cat-eating countries.
China, Peru, Argentina, Switzerland, Ghana, Cameroon, and Australia (some Aborigines) have some areas which eat cats.
However, none of that is too common in any country. Some countries eat cat meat during war time or poverty or because it is thought to bring good luck or health.
Cats were eaten in other parts of South America during recessions, and ancient recipes for cat stew were found in Spain. Parts of Italy ate cats before WWII, but it has since fallen out of practice.
Dunno how much our export revenue would be swelled by selling these and other moggies to the Swiss or whoever. But every bit helps now that our dairy exports have taken a bit of a dip.