Senator pushes for quolls to replace cats as pets

Crossbench Senator David Leyonhjelm has declared the quoll should replace the domestic cat in an effort to preserve native mammal populations.

In a speech to Parliament the Liberal Democratic Party senator has argued making it legal to domesticate native animals like the quoll and bilby will ensure their survival.

“Certain kinds of wallabies make great pets. The quoll may replace domestic cats,” he told the Senate.

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“The bilby is often nominated as a great candidate for domestication.

“In the right circumstances, possums, Tasmanian devils, wombats, native rats, antechinus and bandicoots would also be great pets.”

Mr Leyonhjelm said 11 per cent of Australia’s native mammals are now listed as extinct and the nation needs to be better at preserving fauna.

“Just as cats and dogs are in no danger of dying out, the same will be true if native animals are privately owned. It means they have value.”

He has also acknowledged it would not be appropriate in some cases.

“There is no disputing that some native animals may make unsuitable pets, at least in certain situations,” he said.

“Many are nocturnal, for example, which might require us to adjust our own sleeping habits to enjoy them.”

He has cited examples overseas of sugar gliders and blue tongue lizards living longer in captivity than the wild.

Mr Leyonhjelm said there is no suggestion of taking animals from the wild, and they “need to be bred as pets”.

He has also noted that Australians can legally own a number of pets that kill native animals.

Mr Leyonhjelm has previously revealed himself to be an animal lover, his advisor tweeted a photo of him snuggling up to his white cat last month.


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