I WELCOME the national effort to reduce the number of stray cats by sterilising them humanely ("Islandwide plan to sterilise stray cats"; yesterday).
Sterilisation has always been the most effective way to reduce the population of stray animals. Culling sends the wrong message to the public that these strays pose a public threat, and it is a relief to hear that the number of strays being euthanised has decreased significantly.
I urge the authorities to consider a national sterilisation scheme for dogs as well.
To keep the programme sustainable, sterilisation can be carried out in private clinics, and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority can work with these clinics and animal welfare groups to extend coverage to more areas, especially those where the stray populations are high.
The areas of coverage should not be confined to community areas, but include industrial areas as well. There are many strays in industrial areas, and the authorities need to step up their sterilisation programme with the help of animal welfare volunteers.
It is challenging but with combined resources from all parties, these difficulties can be overcome.