Sunday, July 25, 2010

PETA's View on Feral Cats

Recently, I read a Letter to the Editor on the (a newspaper in the central Texas area) from Teresa Chagrin, a representative of PETA. In her letter, she encourages Leander, TX, to NOT support TNR of feral cats. Chagrin says cats left outdoors suffer from injuries and lead terrible lives. She includes that cats kill countless birds and wildlife “just in play.” She closed by saying that the only humane way to control feral cat populations is to spay/neuter and keep them indoors. 
PETA does NOT support releasing feral cats. They support spay/neuter programs but do not agree that once sterilized and vaccinated, they should be released back outside to their home (where they will continued to be cared for). Instead, according to PETA’s “Helping Animals” section, “When the cats have recuperated, they can be released into the house, but it may take months (or years) of patience and kindness before the animals begin to trust you. Do not allow feral cats outside, even after they have lived in your home for a long while. They are easily frightened and may bolt and become lost.”

OR PETA suggests another option for feral cats – euthanasia. “Because of the huge number of feral cats and the severe shortage of good homes, the difficulty of socialization, and the dangers lurking where most feral cats live, it may be necessary—and the most compassionate choice—to euthanize feral cats. You can ask your veterinarian to do this or, if your local animal shelter uses an injection of sodium pentobarbital, take the cats there. Please do not allow the prospect of euthanasia to deter you from trapping feral cats. If you leave them where they are, they will almost certainly die a painful death. A painless injection is far kinder than any fate that feral cats will meet if they are left to survive on their own.”

(Photo: Troy Snow, Freelance Photographer Kanab, Utah)

Obviously, PETA does not have much experience managing feral cats. The last thing you want to do is to release a feral cat in your house or inside any building for that matter!! This can be very dangerous, to you and the cat. Releasing a feral cat in an unfamiliar, enclosed area will cause the cat to become disoriented and lash out. Caged feral cats will destroy furniture, carpets, walls… They can get inside walls and become trapped in attics and basements. They will do anything to escape…just as any wild animal will do when forced to live in an environment unnatural to them.

And I’m not sure how PETA can defend any other wild animal, saying it deserves the right to live its life without human interference, yet they argue feral cats are “ill-equipped to survive on their own” and the nicest thing we can do for them is to kill them? Feral cats have been surviving for 10,000 years and if we are experiencing a feral cat population crisis – I don’t think they are living any more “terrible” lives than any other animal. Foxes, rabbits, birds, hell even humans…all face the same obstacles in life: starvation, exposure to the elements, disease, cruelty/fighting, getting hit by a car. So I’m not sure why PETA thinks cats are any different and should be “rescued” by being put out of their misery?

Now, don’t get me wrong…PETA does do a lot of great things for animals all over the world. But their stance on feral cats is not one of them. Cat rescuers DO WANT to see the end of feral cat colonies. The difference is we use non-lethal methods to control the colonies, while others want colonies to be eradicated. I personally feel that culling and hunting practices should not be utilized as part of any wildlife management. I know both sides of the argument but I still feel that humans try to play too much of a part of managing how the natural world should look. I believe we should "conserve" habitat and life, but I also do not believe that we should be killing one species in order to save another, even if the species we are protecting is in danger of extinction. (They are most likely threatened to begin with because of human activity.)

The planet has been evolving way longer than we have been here and she doesn't need any instructions from us on how to do her job. The natural world evolves...things die and new things are born. And it seems anytime humans get involved, things end up worse than if we didn't get involved. Humans have become too far detached from the natural world to make "educated" decisions on how it should be managed. We have become outside observers instead of inside participants. We sit "outside" of nature and create our studies and see the world through human eyes instead of being one with the natural environment and listening to what it has to teach us. It's like politics, humans speak for the planet as they see fit, instead of speaking for the planet as the planet wants to be heard. I know us humans are "trying" but when it comes to saving the natural world, we really have things ass backwards.

Sorry PETA, but I'm not taking your advice and releasing a feral cat in my house. That's just crazy!


W said...

Surprising for an animal organization. This article lowers the creditability of the organization.




Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I do not agree with PETA on this one. TNR does work, there have been many studies to prove it. I can actually prove it myself in my neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I have been a volunteer with the TNR program in Albuquerque NM for over a year and have 5 feral cats in my neighborhood colony. My colony is healthier and happier since their vet visit. This is the first time I have to disagree with PETA. Please study the results PETA, and join us in our mission to end cat overpopulation by supporting TNR.