Conservation Council’s objectives

The Conservation Council ACT Region objectives as laid out at the beginning of our Constitution are to:

(i) maintain, preserve and enhance the quality of the natural, urban and rural environment and the integrity of ecological systems and processes;
(ii) preserve and safeguard the natural, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage; and
(iii) promote community understanding of the common responsibility for the maintenance of a healthy and sustainable environment, on which all life ultimately depends.

These objectives allow us to do a range of activities related to the environment and to support and work with our member groups on a range of activities.

 

Veterinary surgeons on cat containment – 12 March 2015

We asked the ACT Division of the Australian Veterinary Association for their position on cat containment. The Committee circulated to the AVA’s ACT Division members for comment prior to finalising this response:

Containment of owned pet cats in Canberra – response from the Australian Veterinary Association ACT Division Committee

12 March 2015

Containment of cats is encouraged on the condition that adequate environmental enrichment is provided to meet the cats’ physical and behavioural needs.

Background

The containment of cats in an enclosed area (within the owner’s property boundaries) can have the advantages of:

  • Helping to protect cats from injuries and diseases due to fighting between cats (abscesses, FIV, FeLV)
  • Helping to protect cats from injuries due to dog attacks, car accidents and snake bites
  • Increasing the opportunity for owner- cat interaction
  • Reducing the impact on wildlife of hunting by cats
  • Reducing disturbance caused to neighbours.

However, containment without adequate environmental enrichment may lead to physical and psychological restrictions and poor quality of life for cats.  Cats that are unaccustomed to being contained may suffer distress if suddenly restricted. This may lead to development of behavioural problems which may increase relinquishment rates, both of which are undesirable from an animal welfare perspective.  Lack of adequate exercise may lead to conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

Recommendations

Where cats are contained, steps should be taken to ensure that adequate exercise and environmental enrichment are available to provide sufficient physical and psychological stimulation.

Cats contained to an owner’s property should have access to an outdoor escape-proof enclosure to provide activity and stimulation. These enclosures must not be electrified.

Ideally, cats should be trained to be contained early i.e. as young kittens. Young kittens that are raised within the owner’s boundary (and have access to an outdoor enclosure) are less likely to suffer behavioural distress.

Environmental enrichment in the form of climbing structures, hiding areas, safe toys and scratching posts should be provided. A leash and harness may be used to walk cats outside the owner’s property under direct supervision. Having two compatible pet cats living together can also help to provide company and environmental enrichment for contained cats. Talk to your veterinarian about desexing which will reduce the cat’s desire to roam, and also the use of pheromone sprays and diffusers which can help to reduce stress in cats.

If new suburbs in Canberra introduce legislated cat containment it is important that potential residents are made aware of this requirement prior to entry.  Support should be provided to help owners ensure the well-being of their contained cats, in the form of information and guidelines on appropriate enclosures and environmental enrichment.

For pre-existing suburbs, cat containment may be encouraged through educational campaigns which emphasise the need for concurrent environmental enrichment. However any introduction of compulsory requirements should follow an appropriate consultation and phase-in period to accommodate cats that are currently unaccustomed to confinement.  These cats should be allowed to adjust through a gradual reduction in time spent beyond the property and provision of a suitable outdoor enclosure. Government support is recommended in the form of educational material and the provision of low cost affordable outdoor enclosures.

The AVA’s policy on Cat Management in Australia can be viewed here: http://www.ava.com.au/policy/132-management-cats-australia

 

Containment of owned pet cats – AVA ACT Division (1)

Speakers: Connecting Canberra’s Community and Environment

Will you join us?

Connecting Canberra’s Community and Environment

The ACT is leading the country with our climate policy – how can we connect with the community to be an even stronger voice for the environment of the bush capital? Hear from leading Australian campaigners, including Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, David Pembroke from the Content Group, and Alex White from UnionsACT (see below).

The Symposium will include a Q&A panel with campaigning experts, case studies in effective campaigns and how to win, and world cafe discussions on how we can best engage the Canberra community.

Last year’s event was a hit with overwhelming positive feedback – participants told us it was stimulating, great skill-sharing, and a wonderful networking event. You don’t want to miss out on this opportunity!

Let’s work together to build a stronger voice for our environment and our community. Register to get your ticket – all member groups get a $10 discount.

If you can’t come, please consider making a donation towards a sponsored ticket – we want to make sure that this event is accessible for all members of the community. You can apply for scholarships here.

Can’t wait to see you there!

Clare Henderson
Executive Director, Conservation Council ACT Region

PS The Symposium is a 2015 Earth Hour event!

Kelly O'Shanassy
Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO Australian Conservation Foundation. Believing strongly in the power of people to advocate for a better, safer environment and future, Kelly worked to build a 60,000 strong supporter base at Environment Victoria. Under her leadership, Environment Victoria was awarded the coveted Eureka Award in 2011 for communicating climate change. Kelly was recognised amongst the top 100 business women in Australia in the 2013 Telstra Business Women’s Awards.
David Pembroke
David Pembroke, Director, Content Group David is part journalist, marketer and businessman with a passion for getting results.This diverse set of experiences is reflected in contentgroup’s unique culture and services. He is at heart a story teller who specialises in solving difficult communication problems. David is a board member of the International Association of Business Communicators and appears regularly in the media to discuss strategy and content marketing.

 

Alex White
Alex White, Secretary UnionsACT Alex White, Secretary of UnionsACT, has years of experience with campaigning for community and environment groups. He is a Climate Reality Project Presenter and was personally trained by Al Gore in 2009. In 2012 he was an organising fellow with the Obama for America presidential campaign based in Boston, Massachusetts.