The cat-killing contest, which took place in a rural area of New Zealand, involved children as young as five years old.
The children were reportedly encouraged by adults to catch and kill as many cats as they could within a given time frame. The cats were then piled up in a truck and taken away.
Vile and inappropriate emails and messages had been sent to the school and others involved. We are incredibly disappointed in this reaction and would like to clarify that this competition is an independent community run event.- Organizers of the contest
Our sponsors and school safety are our main priority, so the decision has been made to withdraw this category for this year to avoid further backlash at this time. To clarify, for all hunting categories, our hunters are required to abide by firearms act 1983 and future amendments as well as the animal welfare act 1999.- Organizers of the contest
The incident has sparked outrage from animal rights activists who have called for action to be taken against those responsible. "This is an abhorrent and cruel act, and we cannot let it go unpunished," said one activist.
Animal welfare groups have also called for stricter laws to be put in place to protect cats and other animals in the country.
They have highlighted the need for education and awareness programs to teach children and adults about the importance of respecting and caring for animals.
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The New Zealand government has condemned the incident and launched an investigation to identify those responsible.
The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Communities has also issued a statement, saying that the government is committed to protecting animals and will take all necessary steps to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.