Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Manifesto for a feral cat-free world

Here are our reasons for believing that all responsible citizens of the world must oppose feral cat colonies.

The trap, neuter, and return [referred to hereafter as TNR] management of feral cat colonies [as practiced in the USA and some European and other countries] is considered an effective and humane method of control by those who practice it and by many other well-meaning people from the general public. The colony managers and their supporters are seeking a humane method for solving the catastrophic problem of the millions of cats dumped by irresponsible owners into our ecology.

However, many of us disagree strongly and are convinced that this policy is an unethical way to manage feral domestic animals as it only solves part of the problem and only from the perspective of the welfare of cats.

We especially believe it is inexcusable to re-abandon a domesticated animal into what is an alien ecology; especially an animal that is universally known to be a deadly predator and a threat to the survival of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians which have all evolved in an ecology without it, so have no protection from it.

When choosing to practice TNR, feral colony managers make a conscious decision to do the following:

1. abandon a domestic animal into an environment it is not equipped to deal with without assistance from humans - by virtue of thousands of years of domestication. This also breaks existing laws designed to protect those same domestic animals. Many cats become diseased and are malnourished despite their predation of millions of songbirds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

2. enable those domestic animals to continue to prey on our native wildlife. This contributes to the staggering damage to our ecology caused by the huge population of feral cats, destroying up to a billion birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians each year in the USA alone as well as breaking laws designed to protect our endangered wildlife.

3. when releasing these animals from captivity this domesticated pet animal becomes a public nuisance, trespassing, urinating and defecating in yards, gardens, and on public property. Their fighting screams keep people awake and they can carry disease to domestic stock and properly cared for pets.

Whilst the majority of people agree the original abandonment of the cat was unethical, they do not realise that the re-abandonment is equally so. In fact we believe it is even more unethical and flies in the face of the facts. To abandon the domestic pets again to suffer in the wild, kill more of our native wildlife, and to alienate the general public is indefensible.

How can the TNR advocates rationalize the violent deaths of billions of our native fauna each year for the benefit of millions of alien animals as ethical? They really believe that they have chosen to show compassion and humane treatment to cats yet they are doing them no good whilst, at the same time doing harm to many more millions of equally deserving innocent creatures.

The fact is that we must learn to deal with this present and real danger to our wildlife in an adult and responsible manner that benefits the cats and the wildlife they currently predate.

We call for feral domestic animals every where to be eradicated from the environment which they are harming.

In many parts of the world introduced rodents and mustelids [such as rats, mice & rabbits and weasels, stoats, mink etc.] are eliminated with humane poisoned baits and native wildlife flourishes. There is no lobby to trap, neuter and release these animals simply because the species have not been considered pets by most people but pests. In other words it is not the elimination of living creatures that people object to but only the culling of particular species¦ where is the sense in that?

On islands, such as the Galapagos feral goats, pigs and so forth have ruined much habitat and unique animals have disappeared. Many believe that the most famous extinction of all, the Dodo, was caused by feral goats and pigs being left by sailors as potential food, out-competing the birds for food.

In some countries, such as in Australia, legislation has been passed to make the release of cats into the wild a criminal offence and here too it has been shown that once feral pets and mistakenly introduced non-native species are eliminated from an enclosed area it is immediately re-colonised by rare native species which then flourish.

We believe that the most humane solution is to cull all such feral populations including cats. However, if there are those who cannot contemplate the death of one animal [i.e. a cat] to save hundreds of others [i.e. many birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians], then they must be responsible for their beliefs and pay for the entrapment, neutering and then housing in enclosures of feral cats themselves.

Here are your contacts for the United States House of Representatives
and United States Senate. Please write them. You are welcome to quote from our Manifesto, or send the entire thing.

No comments: