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.
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