Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holiday's from ACR

On December 9th and 16th, Alley Cat Rescue got to play Santa at the PETsMART to raise money. People could bring in their pets (and kids!) to have their pictures taken with Santa. On the 9th, two volunteers played Santa, but on the 16th, ACR's own Kylie had the honor. Here are some pictures--
Kylie as Santa with her dog Otis
Alley Cat Rescue would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year!

~Louise, Kylie, Maggie and the Alley Cat Rescue Team

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cats Are Not Killers, They Are Predators

There was a recent article in the New York Times Magazine covering the never-ending debate on feral cat predation. Clea Simon (author of Cries and Whiskers) also discusses if “kitty is a killer” on her blog. In response to the magazine’s article and to add to Clea’s comments, here is ACR’s view on the subject:

Humans have double standards when it comes to judging and treating animals and how they judge and treat their own species. Environmentalists focus on the cat as predator, making exaggerated claims about cat predation and often overlooking or minimizing the tremendous damage done by humans. At this time in history, when the human population is so destructive to the earth and wildlife, we need to remind ourselves of our species’ responsibility and consider our “double standards.”

Urban sprawl, parking lots, road building, and golf courses play a large part in reducing habitat and food sources, negatively affecting wildlife. We poison our air with exhaust fumes from over 120 million automobiles and spray 4 billion pounds of pesticides into the atmosphere annually. The WorldWatch Institute cites deforestation, due to razing forests for croplands, pastures, and real estate, as one of the major factors contributing to the loss of all birds, including songbirds. In addition, power lines electrocute tens of thousands of birds, and estimates of birds killed in collisions with automobiles and glass windows every year run to the hundreds of millions.

So, to place blame on cats as a major cause for the decline of bird populations and to advocate their eradication does not make sense or solve the problem. Yes, there is no denying cats kill birds. They are predators, they hunt, and they do so out of instinct just as other mammals do. But that doesn’t mean we should round up all predators and decide who we should kill and who should live. Plus, many zoologists have observed that feral cats are more scavengers than predators. Their begging and opportunistic behavior “has enabled many feral cats almost to give up hunting altogether,” says Peter Neville, a UK biologist; this behavior has contributed to their being domesticated in the first place over 5,000 years ago.

Studies have also shown that cases where cats were eradicated mice and rat populations exploded, and they began to prey on ground-nesting birds. On Amsterdam Island, biologists eradicated the feral cats to protect seabirds; however, this caused an increase in black rat and house mice populations, and they preyed on the seabirds. Same occurred in New Zealand, when feral cats were exterminated to preserve native bird populations; only, there was an increase in the rat population, which posed deadly to the birds.

In the end, ACR believes all animals, whether exotic, alien, introduced, non-native, or so-called pests, are sentient beings and should be given humane care and treatment. If a species needs controlled in order to preserve another, then all humane, non-lethal methods should be utilized. In this day and age, everyone should be trying to instill more compassionate ethics towards the earth and all of her inhabitants.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cries and Whiskers Receives Rave Reviews!

Available now, Cries and Whiskers, by Clea Simon, receives rave reviews!

--“Simon has written a fast-moving story full of lively characters, both two- and four-legged. This series is highly recommended for mystery fans who love cats but who prefer to leave the crime-solving to humans.” —
Booklist

--“Definitely a great read for cat lovers.” —
Reader Views

When an animal rights activist is killed by a hit-and-run driver on an icy Cambridge street, music critic Theda Krakow can’t get too upset. The victim cared more for wild animals than for people, and had no use at all for domesticated pets, such as the black-and-white cat Musetta that Theda adores. Besides, Theda is caught up in investigating the rise of a dangerous new designer drug that threatens the musicians and fans who make up the club scene she considers her second home. But when the feline-friendly writer learns that the accident victim was defying her own radical group to rescue feral cats on the eve of a ferocious winter storm, she puts her own prejudices aside to help out. As Theda and her buddy, the punk-rock shelter owner Violet, race to save these half-wild felines from the freezing New England winter, they uncover simmering tensions that make the activist’s death seem more than an accident. Could a friend have been the fatal driver? Is Violet more involved with the extremist group than she’s let on? Even while kittens are at risk and the new drug hits close to home, Theda tries to hang onto her journalistic objectivity. But when the threats become more personal and Musetta goes missing, Theda risks her reputation, her career, and possibly her life as the word “deadline” takes on a whole new meaning.

Alley Cat Rescue has received a review copy of the book and will be diving in soon! Keep an eye out for our comments in our newsletter and blog. You may also visit Clea’s website www.cleasimon.com for the prologue of the book.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tigers, Wood and Wal-Mart

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire
Investigation Agency (EIA -- http://www.eia-global.org/) has today released a report
and undercover video evidence that global retail giant Wal-Mart is selling wood products
made from illegally logged timber which is in turn threatening the habitat of the highly
endangered Siberian tiger. This new evidence comes as Wal-Mart continues to publicly
tout its "Sustainability 360" initiative, which asserts the importance of "first and
foremost" avoiding illegally harvested wood.
Highlights of the EIA report show that Wal-Mart's "no questions asked" sourcing
policy, which prizes low-price above all, is having particularly dangerous consequences
for the high conservation value forests of the Russian Far East, and in turn the
world's largest cat, the Siberian tiger, of which only 500 are thought to remain
in the wild.
EIA's investigators found Wal-Mart's footprints around the globe, but nowhere more
so than in China, which ranks Wal-Mart as its eighth-largest trading partner -- and
which produces 84 percent of Wal-Mart's wood products. China's manufacturing sector
relies on large quantities of high-risk timber imported from the world's illegal
logging hotspots --including Russia's Far East.
"Everybody in Russia from President Vladimir Putin down to local
officials has openly acknowledged that much of the wood flowing from
Russia to China is illegal," said Alexander von Bismarck, EIA's Executive
Director. "But Chinese manufacturers told EIA investigators again and again
that Wal-Mart doesn't ask where the wood comes from, only if it's cheap
–disputing Wal-Mart's claims that it avoids sourcing illegally logged wood."
The EIA undercover team traveled to the Chinese factories and spoke with
staff there to investigate Wal-Mart's business practices. The findings include
evidence of 200,000 baby cribs made from high-risk Russian wood by Chinese
manufacturers for Wal-Mart. Investigators tracked the wood supply back to the
Russian forest and found the Russian company logging in tiger habitat and
making illegal cash payments to Russian police to move their timber. These were
the same cribs recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission due to
baby deaths. The cribs now continue to be sold in the U.S. with revised assembly
instructions.
"Cutting costs should not be an excuse for damaging the environment by accepting
illegal wood or threatening endangered species -- especially not for the biggest
company in the world," said von Bismarck.
"EIA is calling on Wal-Mart to stand by its CEO's goal to sell products that 
sustain our natural resources and the environment, and to remove illegally
sourced wood from its supply chain," added von Bismarck. EIA is a non-profit
organization that has been working around the globe since 1984 to investigate,
expose and campaign against the illegal trade in wildlife and the destruction
of our natural environment.