Ted Nugent is at it again. In a recent article published in the Washington Post, Nugent advocates using feral cats as target practice as a means of decreasing their negative impact on the environment. Crazy, right? Or…is it?
While the method he touts is, indeed, ridiculous, some—even animal welfare advocates—support the humane eradication feral cat colonies (via trapping and euthanizing). A mere 25% of the approximately 100 million feral cats in the U.S. make it to adulthood; if they do, they face dozens of dangers that lead to a painful death: a variety of horrid diseases, cruel people, excruciating injuries, painful and often lethal bites from wildlife or other ferals, severe weather etc. And how about what these cats can do to the natural balance of the environment in which they live (and hunt) if the TNVR (trap, neuter, vaccinate and return) is “successful?” Nugent’s mention of the tragic instance on Ascension Island, where two species of birds had become extinct as a direct result of feral cat hunting, is just one of many examples of that aspect of the feral cat issue. Indeed, some people support the theory that, when it comes to feral cats, sometimes dead is better.
Yet, on the other hand, as one popular feral cat support group states: “We (should) value the intrinsic dignity and worth of each cat and acknowledge their history and place in the natural landscape” (parenthetical added). All sentient beings have the right to have their interests respected and, of course, living would be pretty high on that “interests” list. Beyond that basic ideal, the ASPCA makes the valid point that “Most attempts to eradicate feral cat colonies have failed. As long as there is food and shelter, new cats take the place of those who are removed.” And how about claims of a tremendous decrease in euthanasia stats? One city’s TNVR program claims successful sterilization of over 7000 cats in nearly 5 years, and a decrease of almost 50% in cat impounds and euthanasias at local shelters since the group was formed. If true, these statistics are indeed impressive…and the method worthy of consideration isn’t it?
Statistics and theories provided for both sides make it clear why this issue continues to be debated in the animal welfare/rights world, and FiXiT would love to know where you stand on this issue. After all, such debates often lead to successful solutions, no matter what the topic. So take a few minutes and chime in. Let FiXiT know what you think about feral cat control and why.
Here are some sites to visit for further information: