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Killing possums and ferrets is a horrible job, and most of us hate it. But it has to be done, especially if we have regenerating bush, or if our land falls within a TB control area. We can use contractors to do the job, but we still have some choice about what method is used on our land. Pest mammals are intelligent and sensitive creatures, so we should choose a humane method.
There are many species of fly in New Zealand. Most pose a threat to hygiene and are a nuisance to humans and animals. Flies are vectors of a large number of diseases including gastroenteritis, dysentery, typhoid, polio, salmonella and tuberculosis. Some, such as sandflies, are a direct irritant, biting humans and sometimes causing painful reactions.
Through the summer months the natural population of rats and mice rises as increasing quantities of food such as fruits, nuts and grains are available to them. Once autumn arrives, food sources dwindle and temperatures drop. Consequently rats and mice then begin to look for shelter and alternative food supplies. All too often they find both in our homes, sheds, chicken houses, stables and stores.
Cluster flies are large, slow moving, hairy, flies around 10-15mm with a dark gray to black non-metallic abdomen. They lay eggs on grass lawns and pasture in spring. The larvae of the flies feed on earthworms in grass pasture or lawn areas. Then in autumn and early winter the adult flies will move into homes and other buildings to survive the winter.
At last, gin traps have been banned. Not only that but the larger 'leg-hold' traps that can trap their victims by soft parts of their body have been banned too. These new regulations under the Animal Welfare Act are long overdue. I believe that gin traps and the size 1½ plus leg-hold traps are often very cruel and they have caused millions of animals intense pain and suffering. Not just pest animals either. Many non-target species such as hedgehogs and even cats, dogs and birds are caught in leg-hold traps every year.
Possums seriously damage our native forest. They eat the berries and flowers that are food for native birds. Birds’ eggs and chicks are also predated.
New Zealand "moggies" are due for a lifestyle change, and the outrage will come from their owners and not the cats, as felines are a very adaptable species. The message is that cats should be confined at night. New Zealanders accept that dogs must be under control at all times, but cannot accept that the same rule should apply to cats.