Saturday, March 21, 2009

TNR Is Not A Solution

TNR Is Not A Solution

Cats are wonderful companion animals that have no place in our natural ecosystem. Through no fault of their own, free roaming and feral domestic cats have been allowed to cause significant impacts to the welfare of our native wildlife, human health and the environment. Individuals and organizations that promote TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) as a solution to this ever increasing epidemic are sympathetic to the cat's perils while turning a blind eye to the impact these cats have on our native species and the environment. I, for one, cannot condone this attitude towards wildlife and I strongly oppose TNR unless the cats are enclosed and not allowed to interact with wildlife.

The solution to the pet overpopulation crisis will only be realized when individuals take personal responsibility for their pets. To hasten this transformation, strict anti-roaming and mandatory spay/neuter ordinances must be enacted and enforced. Once we change people's attitudes about letting their cats roam freely outdoors, most of the battle will have been won. TNR under minds the concept of keeping cats indoors and also creates a place for irresponsible pet owners to dump their unwanted pets. If you support TNR you are indirectly supporting pet abandonment too.

TNR is a short term band-aid that makes the caregivers feel good about themselves but their feelings are genuinely misplaced. The poor cats languish in these colonies and are subjected to the elements, parasites, disease, predation and abuse. TNR colonies never disappear through natural attrition. As long as we have misguided people artificially sustaining this invasive predatory species we will always have feral and free roaming domestic cats reeking havoc on the natural environment.

I have found that TNR advocates have a hard time distinguishing between the terms feral and wild. A feral animal is a domestic animal that has been abandoned but it is still a domestic animal and belongs with and depends on humans for survival. A wild animal has evolved to live in its natural environment on its own and can live and flourish without the help of humans. To say that feral cats are wildlife and that they deserve a place in the natural ecosystem is mind boggling to me. To allow free roaming and feral cats access to our natural world is criminal and must be stopped.

TNR is nothing more than a trade off. How many wild lives must be sacrificed so that one feral cat can live? I have posed this question to many TNR supporters and not one has given me a good answer. My answer is zero. I would much rather see a feral cat humanely euthanized than to see it abandoned into a colony to kill and maim tens or hundreds of wild animals. And we all know this is what happens.

The grim fact is that humans created this problem and now we have to solve it. Placing a higher value on the life of a cat than on our native wildlife is not a solution and must not be allowed to continue.

Tim Steinbeiser
Redbud Avian Rehabilitation Center, Inc.
116 Manitee Avenue Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
(609) 538-1933

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