Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cats and Predation—a new attack on cats.

Jabu just wants to eat whatever we left on the plate
 Cats have become Public Enemy Number 1 for some. This momentum has been building for many years. In a recent paper published by biologists from the Smithsonian Institution, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the authors claim that cats kill nearly 4 billion birds each year, and more than 15 billion small mammals. One of ACR’s friends writes: “Of course it is no coincidence that two of the authors of this “study” …are affiliated with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center – the same outfit that employed Nico Dauphine.” You will remember that Dauphine was eventually fired from the Smithsonian and was found guilty of setting out poisons for feral cats in Washington D C.

“The authors write that trap-neuter/spay-return programs–or those in which feral cats are caught, “fixed,” and released back into the wild unharmed–are undertaken throughout North American and are carried out largely without consideration towards to native animals and without widespread public knowledge. While cat lovers claim that these methods reduce wildlife mortality by humanely limiting the growth of feral colonies, the authors point out that the scientific literature does not support this assumption. Therefore, such colonies should be a “wildlife management priority,” they write. They don’t come out and say it but the implication is that feral cat colonies should be exterminated.”

Our cat friend writes: “The extravagant extrapolations posing as “science” here promise to outdo all the other “studies” we’ve seen so far and which the media will no doubt latch onto.”

Well the Media did latch on to it….hundreds of article every day, too numerous to respond to each and every one. Headlines read: “Death to the house cat!”, “Born Killers”, “Cats are killing everything”, and “Furry Little Death Mills.” And so on and so forth…

The “implication” is that all feral cats be exterminated. Our question once again is: (1) who will do this killing and who will pay for this extermination of millions of feral cats?

(2) what will happen to all the rodents in every city across the U.S. if their top predator is removed?

Coincidentally, this came upon the heels of a businessman wanting to ban all cats in New Zealand to protect wildlife. When the question arose: What would happen to rats and mice? The answer by some was: “Reduction in cat numbers is unlikely to result in a widespread increase in rats to levels that would impact native wildlife in urban and agricultural landscapes because people are highly motivated to kill rats. A rise in the rat population would not go unnoticed by the rat-hating human population. Any increase in rats would be met by an increase in trapping and poisoning by people in all the ways we already do and including the new hi-tech traps available”

Perhaps this is the Smithsonian biologists’ answer as well? Let rat numbers increase. People will take care of that by setting out more poisons for rats.

Is this what we really want? Spraying more pesticides into the environment, poisoning more of our water supply? And my other question is: Will this not kill more birds?

Finally: What happened to compassion and our humane treatment of animals? Why do these environmentalists insist on killing, when we have seen that nonlethal control DOES work?

Why NOT embrace all the folks already working on humane, nonlethal control?

Our Spring Newsletter will be out soon, and in it we discuss the dangerous game these environmental groups are playing by trying to remove a mesopredator and a successful predator of rodents.

Do look for it in your mailbox in the coming weeks.