Transnet’s extermination policy dismays NGO

A DECISION by Transnet Engineering SA to exterminate stray cats on its properties across the country, has been described as disappointing by Cats of Durban which has successfully been managing feral cat populations on some of Transnet’s properties.

In a media statement on Monday, the NPO said a directive was issued on 14 February by Trannet Compliance Officer Mirriam Tenyane, which indicated that stray animals were prohibted on Transnet properties.

“Unfortunately, the directive does not take into account that the world-wide trend of problem animal management is towards sustainable management, rather than extermination. It is clearly issued by someone who does not understand, or who prefers not to understand, the humane and sustainable management of problem animals,” read the statement.

Cats of Durban went on to say that the directive ordered staff  to hand over animals to NGSs or the SPCA where applicable, but it claimed that this was nonsensical because NGOs cannot adopt stray or feral animals which meant the animals would be destroyed.

“Removing cats from properties on the scale of national Transnet premises is an inhumane, cruel, and counter-productive procedure. Because animal welfare agencies cannot remove animals on this scale, and in any case endorse sustainable management rather than removal, the work is done by pest control companies who trap the cats inhumanely and take them away for euthanasia. Within months, more cats move into the vacuum that has been created. These cats will have to be trapped, removed, and euthanased again in perpetuity. The cycle of cruelty goes on.”

According to the organisation, the feral cat colonies on the Transnet property in Durban, have been in place for decades. “They were sterilized and managed, and Transnet Engineering in Durban had arranged to sponsor the costs of sterilization. However, when the time came to pay the bill, the directive for removal and extermination was issued instead. It has also now become a dismissable offence for any Transnet employee to feed a starving cat,” it said.

“We do not need cats on our properties for vermin control,” said Ms Tenyane. “We will use poison – there are poisons and chemicals that do the job very well. We have already started removing the cats from our Uitenhage properties, and the project is very successful.”

Cats of Durban claims to have spent months and donor money to sterilize the cats on the Transnet Engineering property in Edwin Swales Drive. The colony was in the process of being managed in order to prevent the identified problems. “This directive means that hundreds of hours of volunteer time, and thousands of rands in donor funding, has been wasted,” it said in the media statement.

The organisation has attempted in recent weeks to persuade Ms Tenyane to reconsider, or amend, her directive, but have been unsuccessful. She has remained adamant that the directive should stand.

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