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A letter to Minister Wightman in the response to the following State Government media release:

Support for Responsible Cat Ownership

Today’s State Budget provides $255,000 to support responsible cat ownership and protect Tasmania’s natural environment.

New cat management laws and regulations come into effect on July 1st this year, under the Cat Management Act 2009.

“We know that feral, stray and even domesticated cats can cause major damage to wildlife and local environments if they’re allowed to breed and spread without monitoring or restrictions,” Mr Wightman said.

“Desexing and microchipping of cats will become compulsory in the future, to help create controls and limit that damage

“DPIPWE is developing programs to help and encourage pet owners to take an active role in cat management.

The funding in this year’s budget supports that work - including assistance to cat centres (including project material), the RSPCA, local government and the community.

“The Department is working closely with stakeholders like the RSPCA to ensure the new laws don’t adversely affect their operations,” Mr Wightman said.

The Act restricts the breeding of cats, requires that cats that are sold or given away are microchipped and desexed, and provides for the control of unidentified, stray and feral cats - particularly on rural land and prohibited areas like national parks and forest reserves.

Mr Wightman said the newly-formed Invasive Species Branch has centralised expertise across DPIPWE, to focus on combatting existing and emerging weeds, as well as invasive animals like feral cats, foxes and rabbits.

“Fox eradication remains a priority, so foxes don’t gain a destructive foothold in Tasmania,” Mr Wightman said.

“The skills and knowledge developed by the Fox Eradication Program will help tackle other invasive species by identifying future threats and responding to possible new incursions,” he said.

While the State will continue to fund the Invasive Species Branch, DPIPWE will actively seek ongoing Australian Government assistance for invasive species projects from the next round of Caring for our Country submissions.

Dear Minister Wightman

Ten years ago I informed Minister Llewellyn and later Minister Green that feral cats were the most serious threat to our ecology and biodiversity…basically I was ignored.

Foxes were then the perceived threat we were all told.

So why now all of a sudden are feral cats so important?

Could you please answer a few simple questions based on your press release comments;  excerpts below.

“Fox eradication remains a priority, so foxes don’t gain a destructive foothold in Tasmania,” Mr Wightman said”.

Q. (A ) Firstly could you please explain where you believe the constant restocking of foxes is coming from which would enable this destructive foothold being established?

“The skills and knowledge developed by the Fox Eradication Program will help tackle other invasive species by identifying future threats and responding to possible new incursions,” he said.

Q. (B) Specifically what skills and knowledge would you claim the FFTF and then the FEP have developed?  Bearing in mind the FFTF and later the FEP has the highest staff turn over of any government department.

While the State will continue to fund the Invasive Species Branch, DPIPWE will actively seek ongoing Australian Government assistance for invasive species projects from the next round of Caring for our Country submissions.

Q. (C)  Minister you are actually relying on Caring for our Country formerly NHT as an ongoing source of funding aren’t you?  Regardless whether or not there are foxes in the Tasmanian environment and despite the environmental and wildlife damage this ill-informed, fox-less and ongoing 1080 meat based baiting campaign is causing.

This 1080 meat based baiting campaign will go down in Tasmanian History as the biggest environmental blunder since settlement, exceeding in my opinion - the Government of the day putting a bounty on the Thylacine.

Regards’

Ian Rist

My brief synopsis of the issue:

I also wish to quote several examples of politicians lack of basic knowledge of the Tasmanian fox issue, just the other day in the Upper House we had a MLC who was actually was the Chair of the PAC Fiscal Fox Inquiry stating that “Oh we do have foxes in Tasmania, remember the one that hitched a ride on the Spirit of Tasmania to Hobart” ?

One other MLC from the North West was quoting that other people had definitely seen fox cubs so there must be foxes.

The same day in the Upper House we had other well paid (with our money)  politicians constantly wise cracking about the fox issue that is funded with our taxpayers money (the same politicians that are elected by us to spend our money wisely).

We recently had the Premier stating publicly that “oh the evidence is there, my scientists and biologists advise me that many of the fox scats (allegedly) recovered in Tasmania contained endemic Tasmanian species”....(one of the same knowledgeable biologists didn’t even know the gestation period of a Red fox when questioned at the above mentioned PAC Inquiry).

However,  wrong Premier, NO fox scats (allegedly) recovered in Tasmania have ever contained ANY Tasmanian endemic species…this fact was admitted in the Upper House the same day Tuesday 15th May 2012.

http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/HansardCouncil/isysquery/889dea10-5d34-42db-a5c1-1e20c87d69e2/9/doc/

Brief examples of what has been wrong with the fox issue from day one, politicians of Green, Red and Blue happy to go along with the spending of taxpayers money, having two-bob each way just in case, not wanting any egg on their faces just in case a live fox may eventually turn up one day.

The above confusion aided and abetted by a sensation seeking, speculating and fox paranoid media, a media which still hasn’t realised the whole fox thing has been built around a big, bright shining lie.