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Alex is committed to government transparency and accountability; protecting the natural and urban environments, open space and Sydney’s unique heritage; retaining inner city social and affordable housing; the humane treatment of animals; improving transport options; and fairness and equality for the LGBTI communities.

Bill to manage stray cats introduced

11 September 2014

Independent Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich today introduced a bill to ensure that sponsored trap-neuter-return and management (TNR) programs are lawful.

TNR programs involve desexing animals in a specific group or colony of unowned stray animals and returning them to where they were found where they stop breeding, allowing the population to stabilise.
“TNR programs are carried out across the world as a humane method of population control and have official approval from the RSPCA UK and the International Society of Feline Medicine,” Mr Greenwich said.
“In New South Wales there are a number of successful volunteer run programs but they may not be lawful because returning a non-native animal to where it came from could constitute the ‘abandoning’ or liberating’ offences.
The Animal Welfare (Population Control Programs) Bill would ensure that if a TNR program is sponsored by council, the Animal Welfare League NSW, RSPCA NSW or in the case of a national park, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the program is lawful. The Minister must also approve the program in the case of pests outside the Sydney metropolitan area.
“This simple bill merely provides a framework for what already happens, giving volunteers legal certainty and potential access to grants while enabling the collection of data on TNR,” Mr Greenwich said.
No councils or organisations will be forced to sponsor a TNR program and they will continue to be able to use any lawful population control method they see appropriate.
“Because TNR programs are humane, they attract volunteers who would never engage in animal destruction programs and as such they operate in addition to other programs in helping to slow the growth in introduced species,” Mr Greenwich said.
“The stray animals released under a TNR program would have been in the community anyway, only under a TNR program they will be desexed and not produce further offspring. An undesexed female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years; TNR programs can help break this cycle.
"TNR programs have strong community support because they are humane and do not involve cruel destruction methods. I call on the government to support those volunteers working to reduce the number of undesexed non-native animals in the community and my bill,” Mr Greenwich concluded.

Showing 6 reactions

  • Renan Mazucante
    commented 2017-05-16 00:36:30 +1000 · Flag
    I have to agree with the comment below, and thanks do Alex again!
    Ler a biblia
  • animal liberationist
    commented 2014-10-09 17:06:00 +1100 · Flag
    david, for a start YOURE an introduced species! and also as the cats die off over years through natural attrition (cars etc) and colonies reduce and live in harmony with native animals marsupials (possums) and Avians too (ibis, minahs,grey gulls) as their tummies are full! go read stats from other places Italy USA UK ! THANKS SO MUCH ALEX~ about time common sense was legal! thank you !
  • Peter Rutherford
    commented 2014-09-15 18:38:59 +1000 · Flag

    If the bill is not targeting stray cats, who wrote the headline above – “Bill to manage stray cats introduced”?

    PS I know the bill is actually to let people who release cats into the natural environment off the hook and the cats get the benefit.
  • Electorate Office Sydney
    commented 2014-09-15 14:00:03 +1000 · Flag
    This bill is not targeting feral cats, and will not result in the release of non-native animals into the wild. I’m sorry that you have been misinformed.

    This bill would ensure volunteers can desex and return unowned animals already in the community under a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program without breaching “abandoning” or “liberating” offences. TNR programs involve the desexing of the majority of animals in a colony then returning them to where they were found. TNR programs already operate across the country, predominantly on stray street cat colonies in the metropolitan area.

    Evidence shows that TNR can help stabilise populations and because it is humane, volunteers who would never destroy animals run the programs, which means they operate in addition to, not instead of other population control methods. At the absolute minimum TNR programs increase the proportion of non-native animals in the community that are desexed and this can only be beneficial to the environment.

    Alex’s bill requires TNR programs to be sponsored by council, the RSPCA, the Animal Welfare League or the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in a national park. Programs for declared pests run outside of Sydney must also be approved by the minister.

    The bill doesn’t force any organisation to sponsor or run a TNR program and all other lawful population control methods would continue. The bill simply provides a framework for what already happens, giving volunteers legal certainty.

    I encourage you to read Alex’s speech at
  • Peter Rutherford
    commented 2014-09-14 21:03:14 +1000 · Flag
    Hello Alex,

    I have read your proposal to make it lawful for people to release feral cats after desexing them. I would have hoped you would have understood that the issue with feral cats is not that they have sex with native fauna, the issue is, they kill them in the millions every day.

    Rather than making this anti-biodiversity activity legal, if you cared one itoa for the average of 6 small native birds, mammals and reptiles that every feral cat kills everyday, you would want these people prosecuted, rather than protected. I cannot understand how anyone with even the slightest interest in trying to reduce the decimation, as about 75 million small birds, mammals and reptiles are killed each day, would want to protect feral cats.

    I strongly suggest that you withdraw your dumb bill immediately.
  • David Underhill
    commented 2014-09-13 10:08:21 +1000 · Flag
    Why would you want a “STABILISEDFERAL animal population? Neutered cats still eat/kill/maim native species, so much so they don’t have sustainable populations. So apparently native species don’t matter, but FERAL invasive species do!