Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cats and Birds in England and Other Countries

So, I have been talking with biologists, behaviorists, and veterinarians from England about the push from conservationists and bird groups here in The States to stop TNR and to go back to trap and kill as a method of controlling feral cat populations, and they are telling me that things are very different over there. Just recently, the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare held a symposium on wild birds and despite much discussion on the falling populations of some bird species, cat predation was not even mentioned. Cats are not “an issue” in England and other countries like it is here.

I was also told that in England, whether cats are “owned” or not, the majority is free to roam outside; it is very common for people to let their cat(s) outside. There is no campaign to keep cats indoors (which ACR does agree with for housecats, because it is safer for the cat/wildlife and particularly if a cat has not been sterilized) over there like it is here. And in England, TNR is the preferred method of managing feral cats, not only for providing them the care they need, but also in fighting homelessness.

Like I said, it’s not just England that supports TNR; many other countries and cities around the world do too: Italy, Calcutta, Johannesburg, Ottawa, Venice... In Italy, the national law regarding the management of pets and the control of feral cats follows the no-kill policy; TNR programs have been used for almost 20 years now! Their biologists and ecologists and animal behaviorists and veterinarians see the effectiveness of TNR in controlling feral cat populations and see it as a humane alternative to catch and kill. (I really hope the US comes to its senses and follows the compassionate path that these places have already done.)     

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