In January 2013 a small piece of local news rapidly spread to Australia, North America, the UK and beyond: New Zealand wanted to ban pet cats. The stories referred to NZ economist Gareth Morgan’s “Cats To Go” campaign, which called for greater cat control to protect native wildlife. Responses to the campaign involved intense public disagreement, and the brief, but still unresolved, controversy highlighted a range of social and cultural challenges to public engagement with science.
The Great NZ Cat Controversy research project combines media analysis, stakeholder interviews, and online cultural probes to better understand people’s relationships with native and introduced animals, and public attitudes towards pets, pest animals, and conservation efforts. You are invited to participate in this research by answering questions about our visual scenarios, media images, and text excerpts.