Friesland is the only Dutch province that still allows hunters to shoot and kill stray cats. Animal rights organization Dier&Recht is calling on the province to stop this practice immediately, calling it cruel and outdated, AD reports.
Shooting stray cats is allowed under Dutch law, based on Article 67 of the Flora and Fauna Act. According to Friesland, the practice is necessary to protect meadow birds. In 2021, the province killed over 250 cats, and 447 the year before.
Even though the law allows stray cats to be shot, all other Dutch provinces have stopped doing so. Instead, they opt for more humane methods, like catching, neutering, and chipping the cats before relocating them to farms, riding schools, and markets.
According to Dier&Recht, this practice is very effective. Neutering the cats stops them from reproducing and creating more stray cats. It also helps with noise complaints – neutered cats don’t go on heat, and castration removes the reproductive drive.
The cats are moved to farms, riding schools, or markets, where they help fight pests like mice and rats. According to Dier&Recht, many of the stray cats it catches are young and easy to socialize.
According to the animal rights organization, Friesland relies on outdated regulations to continue the cruel practice of shooting and killing stray cats. “The bird population has declined considerably in recent decades, but stray cats have little to nothing to do with it,” Kelly Kessen of the organization said to AD.
By shooting strays, Friesland also risks killing someone’s lost pet, Dier&Recht added. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, also voted against the practice in December 2013. “There is no social majority for this culling. But Friesland still allows it,” the organization said on its website.