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Ellen, no I am not committed to trying to deter you or other TNR practitioners. Given that you erroneously think that what you are doing is ‘balanced’ and that you ‘respect all life’ that would be a waste of my time.
But, as you can see, this is a public comment area underneath an article. I am presenting the realities of TNR for those who do not know about this practice or for those who are on the fence. Perhaps then others will investigate further and make an informed decision rather than just accept TNR at face value. You can read, comment, respond, or not do so. But, if I see something that warrants a response, I will respond.
You have absolutely no scientific/peer-reviewed proof that some ‘massive spay-neuter’ efforts have helped the ecosystem. That is patently false given that TNR does not reduce populations, well-fed cats continue to hunt, and felids are the definitive host for Toxoplasma gondii. Free-ranging cats, fixed or not, continue to be a leading cause of wildlife mortality through predation and disease transmission.
In fact, what you say is practically insulting to every scientist in related fields. So many TNR people act like they are ecologists. Ask ecologists what they think about TNR and free-ranging cats. They aren’t jumping for joy. The method is a scourge on the environment – right down to water quality.
You appear to be confused regarding the definition of euthanasia and why euthanasia is done. Euthanasia, by definition, is a good death. Euthanasia is done not only to end immediate suffering, but as a wildlife management tool and to manage shelter numbers. Killing is synonymous to violence. The deaths that these cats meet on the streets are often tragic. They are not typically dying of old age.
Like many TNR advocates, you did not respond by citing a paper to substantiate your claims, and you completely ignored the non-lethal suggestions I mentioned, probably because those methods actually require responsibility and oversight – not just re-dumping cats back to the streets and tossing food.
You view this as positive – others do not.
Eden is clearly committed to trying to deter those of us who have a balanced approach to life. We treat all animals with respect, whether wild or domestic.
He does not comprehend, or show an interest in understanding that massive spay/neuter and care of cats in our Oakland neighborhoods, has helped the neighborhoods, the ecosystem, and the cats. He keeps using the word "euthanize" instead of "kill" in the Trap/remove/euthanize. It is not "euthanasia" to remove healthy cats from their home and kill them, simply because some people want to hold them responsible for destruction of wildlife.
Eden, surely you know we love what we do, and are going to continue. Does it make you happy to continue to rant on here about everyone? I can't fathom going on a site that promotes killing feral cats, and doing more than saying my peace, and leaving. Actually, the fact that EBX is honoring a grass roots group doing something positive, makes it all the more sad, that you would take all this time to try to make people who are helping animals and their community, try to feel they are doing the wrong thing. Your negativity and inability to recognize what people are actually doing, is pretty sad, and is not helping anything.
Maggie, you mention feelings and beliefs and that is part of the problem. You do not seem to understand or appreciate the lack of scientific evidence for what you claim to be true. I am guessing you will not bother to consider these papers, but I will post them anyway. If TNR truly had a population impact, don’t you realize conservation groups would jump for joy? Fewer cats would mean less predation and less feces spreading Tg to wildlife, but that is NOT the result of TNR. Unless you fix a very high percentage of the cats within a geographical area (not a colony) EVERY year, you are wasting your time.
I would love to be a hindrance to TNR, but no Maggie, I am not. TNR is taking place thanks to huge funding sources like PetSmart Charities, Best Friends, HSUS, and others. All that money that could have been better spent.
Unless you took a census of those neighborhoods/zip codes before and after, you don’t know. Many TNR groups erroneously base ‘success’ on reduced intake at shelters and reduced rates of euthanasia. Neither is a sound indicator regarding population reduction. Of course there is less intake and euthanasia – the cats are being re-routed and re-dumped outside.
Lizzard, what you describe seems to be colonies - not ‘the population of cats in Oakland’ and there is a difference.
There is a cost – our natural resources, folks needing PEP due to rabies exposure, damaged property.
Actually, there are people who will trap for removal. The problem is that no-kill efforts have been systematically taking away the rights of landowners to do so. Ear-tipped cats are put right back. Shelters won’t accept cats. Sometimes people are threatened or harassed or their traps are stolen or damaged. People have a right to have unwanted domestic animals removed from their properties. But, that is increasingly harder and harder to do if they are cats.
Two papers in the Journal Zoonoses and Public Health:
Ellen, I did not say I represent the scientific community, but I base my views on science and substantiate what I say based on science. If ‘both sides’ can quote the studies, then by all means, please do so. Cite even one peer-reviewed paper in which TNR has reduced population growth within a municipality, county, or state. The point is – we shouldn’t be engaging and funding feel-good programs that actually come at the expense of public health. As much as environmental impact concerns me, this is first and foremost a public health issue. And, if you bother to read Roebling et al. 2013, the paper that has 5 authors from the CDC, you will learn that TNVR does not mitigate for rabies, but increases the risks. If you read Gerhold and Jessup, 2012 (both papers published in the Journal Zoonoses and Public Health), you will gain an understanding regarding the zoonotic disease ramifications of allowing cats to roam.
Nowhere did I say to hell regarding any other approach. TNR – definitely. But, not socialization, not containment or catios, and not TENVAC – which is a sanctuary set-up that has oversight and accountability (trap-evaluate-neuter-vaccinate-adopt-contain), so perhaps don’t put words in my mouth.
You are the pot calling the kettle black. My view is not myopic because I (unlike you) consider all aspects of this issue – not just the cats.
I didn’t say that the cats or the food is the reason at the colleges, but what I did describe happens in many, many places. Seriously, if you practice TNR, you darn well know that food attracts unwanted animals.
I don’t blame cats – I blame humans. Cats do what they do out of instinct.
I never said get rid of them all – my goodness – just how many times in one rant can you put words in my mouth? Spay-neuter all the owned pets you can, sure. But if you fix a feral, don’t re-dump outside. TNR is pretty much outdoor hoarding of cats. Areas are saturated.
Thank you EBX for sharing the quote by reader — wendyedel75f5 ! Thank you Wendy Edel for your darndest words. We appreciate EBX and our East Bay community - you are our inspiration! With humble and heartfelt gratitude, Lonnie Lee, Vessel Gallery
Excited to share the @bestfoodinoakland on Instagram!
Eden, you don't represent the scientific community, and both "sides" can quote scientific studies, "fact". What is the point. We've all read the tired old lines from organizations who are hell bent on rounding up cats and killing them, and "the hell with any other approach".
You're presenting a myopic view of the situation, and are misinformed regarding what is happening here, and at the colleges. The issue of the colleges wanting to get rid of wildlife has nothing to do with cats. Cat food/feeding is not present at the locations I am reerring to. They are there, and "here" due to the weather and drought. Constructive, collaborative, humane-oriented organizations, such as Wildcare, help in these situation.
You are blaming cats for an awful lot of things, and mis categorizing hard working volunteers dedicated to improveing life for all creatures, in our own neighborhoods. What we're doing, helps the cats, wildlife, and the community.
Call it whatever you want, because clearly, you are opposed to all efforts, that involve humane treatment of cats. So, it doesn't matter, as you aren't helping. You seem on that bandwagon of "I am quoting science, cats are destroying the ecosystem, get rid of them all."
Everyone, continue to support spay/neuter! That should be something everyone agrees about. Eden may not, but thank you to the majority of people out there who are embracing the great work being done, to help these cats.
Thanks for your thoughts. I don’t think you’re right, but like me, you have every right to believe as you wish. I’ll continue as I have for the past 10 years – making a difference in our community – doing what I’ve found to work, and that’s TNR.
Please don’t assume that because I practice TNR that I do not care for the ‘wild critters’. I’m reducing the feral cat population to make a humane impact (for the community, the critters, the birds, and the cats) even if you choose not to believe that it does. If you’re basing *my* success on whether I am making a dent in the population of feral cats in the US, then yes, I must concede that you are right. But, for the neighborhoods I’ve worked, where the community is engaged, the POPULATION is reduced.
It’s about education in the community and providing tools to residents to care for their own neighborhoods – and in some cases, that’s caring for animals. If people are engaged in the process and what’s happening in their own neighborhood, TNR works. Happy you found my statement humorous when I said you are a hindrance. I stand by that statement.
Your comment: “there is still no statistically significant dent in the population after 25 years of this misguided practice” does not take into account the individual neighborhoods where it has worked. I can’t, of course, tackle the whole US, but I can start small and work outward. That’s where the impact occurs, and that’s what makes a difference. If you want to only focus on the ‘big’ picture and simply disregard TNR because you feel there’s no dent in the feral cat population throughout the US, then it seems in your opinion that no one will ever make a difference.
Ellen, interesting that you mentioned encouraging colleges not to trap and kill unwanted wildlife. What unfortunately happens is that cats and cat food attract native wild predators that are then trapped and destroyed. Bobcats, coyotes, and raccoons and other animals become habituated to humans, pose a risk, and then are removed and killed.
Science is not propaganda. Releasing cats that will continue to destroy native wildlife is not a way to support birds. Practicing something like TENVAC is.
Oh, I think this is very constructive because both sides of this issue are presented rather than just a feel-good story.
I do agree that humans are responsible for the decline in birds – they allow cats to roam, they dump unwanted cats, and they re-abandon them through TNR - all human actions that result in wildlife mortality. The fact is, cats are now the leading human-related cause of wildlife mortality – to the tune of billions of birds and mammals every year. Loss et al. 2013. That figure does not even include killed herpetofauna or mortality due to diseases spread from cats to wildlife like toxoplasmosis.
Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) is advertised as a tool to reduce feral cat numbers. Unfortunately, TNR programs have been overwhelmingly shown to fail to reduce feral cat populations while simultaneously maintaining feral cats on the landscape, where they contribute to wildlife and public health risks.
Maggie, I promote responsible pet ownership. TNR undermines that. Tired of killing? How about those of us who are tired of one cat being valued more than the dozens or hundreds or more wild critters that the cat will destroy during the course of its lifetime outdoors? TNR only extends compassion to one species at the expense of all others that actually belong in the wild.
You are incorrect. TNR has never worked as a population reduction tool. Without doing a census of a limited geographical area before TNR and then perhaps 3 to 5 years after TNR, you have no clue as to the effect the method has had on the population of that area. Colony reductions, if they happen, are not population reductions.
What is unfortunate is that TNR is marketed as the best thing since apple pie when there is so much collateral damage to the environment, to public health, to landowner rights, and to the cats themselves.
That is humorous – an attempt to blame folks who think like me as a hindrance to TNR. Millions of dollars are expended annually to re-abandon cats through TNR, and there is still no statistically significant dent in the population after 25 years of this misguided practice.
I will not be ‘joining forces’ to engage in a practice that is essentially a form of animal cruelty to domestic animals and destroys wildlife. Tame the ones you can, contain and promote catios, euthanize the rest.
I am thankful that there are fewer and fewer people promoting the ideas that you espouse. Most people will tell you that they are tired of ‘killing’ as the answer to problems we are facing. It’s a quick fix that doesn’t last, and further erodes human compassion. When residents show compassion, learn how to address the situation, are given the tools and instruction they need to succeed, indeed, TNR DOES work. Perhaps Feral Change will start posting local resident quotes about how their neighborhoods have positively benefited from TNR, and how the populations have stabilized. Yes, communities need to be diligent about fixing any newcomers that show up (often these are simply unfixed pet cats that have been dumped or left behind when people move), but when people are engaged in what’s happening in their neighborhood, and care about their community, all they need are the tools and a little diligence to keep the population at zero growth. It’s unfortunate that comments such as yours dissuade individuals from becoming involved. If everyone who thought as you do simply stopped being a hindrance, the effort would succeed at a faster pace. And, if you and others were willing to join forces in a humane manner, the results you desire would occur quite quickly. It’s true that TNR doesn’t allow for a phone call and the problem just ‘disappears’ – you have to work at it and be engaged with what’s happening in your area. But with a little investment of time and, yes, money, we can humanely address our feral cat population.
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