FERAL cats will be classified as pests in Victoria, but only on public land, allowing their numbers to be “humanely” reduced by public land managers.
The state government made the recommendation after an inquiry was launched into the control of invasive animals on Crown land.
A number of invasive animal experts spoke in support of the idea, saying current legislation meant Parks Victoria could do little work in controlling feral cat numbers.
The government will now further consult with stakeholders and the community as it prepares to list feral cats as pests.
In her response to the inquiry, environment minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the move was a “very important milestone” in protecting Victoria’s biodiversity.
“Feral cats are widespread on public land in Victoria and pose a significant threat to the state’s biodiversity,” she said.
“Ongoing consultation will be integral to the implementation of control programs for feral cats on public land.”
The inquiry made 29 recommendations.
The state government did not support allowing recreational hunters to participate in co-ordinated invasive animal control programs.
It did support a plan for wild deer to be processed at game and general meat-processing facilities for personal consumption.