Culling grey squirrels but loving cats? Is it nuts?

Jason Gilchrist writing in The Converstion.com cannot comprehend why, in Britain, it is illegal to release grey squirrels into the wild while domestic cats are allowed to roam freely. Both cause damage to wildlife, he says, but the damage done by cats is far greater than that done by grey squirrels.

Speciesism against the grey squirrel

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Gilchrist says that grey squirrels cost the UK Forestry an estimated £10 million annually because they strip bark from trees and need to be controlled. And squirrels prey on birds’ eggs. But they have very little impact on songbirds.

He argues that there are 11 million cats in the UK who kill about 27 million birds annually and around 92 million wild prey.

I think he is arguing that this is a case of callous speciesism; favouring one species of animal over another. And I think he is correct. But the answer is not to kill or mistreat either species.

Grey squirrels are persecuted in the UK. It is inhumane and wrong in my opinion. The reason why cats are allowed to get away with preying on birds and small mammals is because they are domesticated companion animals and there is a strong emotional connection to them. They are treated as family members. To doing anything inhumane to them is like killing or harming a family member. This is deeply engrained. Free roaming domestic cats are protected by a de facto unwritten law handed down by cat British cat owners. It won’t change.

There is a similar number of feral cats and a percentage are euthanised at shelters but this too is wrong because humans created the feral cat. The feral cat is the innocent victim of human negligence. Let humans pay the price. That price is monetary; the cost of running nationwide TNR programs. You have to throw resources at the problem if you want to do the right thing.

And the UK law which makes it illegal to release grey squirrels into the wild from December 2019 is wrong too. It means that wildlife rescue centres have to euthanise grey squirrels rather than release them into the wild after they were rescued. Anyone can see that that is morally wrong and nuts.

Both grey squirrels and domestic cats are invasive species in Britain although with respect to cats it is a challenging concept as domestic cats were imported into Britain with the Romans at around 200 AD. When does an animal stop becoming an invasive species?

1 thought on “Culling grey squirrels but loving cats? Is it nuts?”

  1. Cats Causing Animal And Bird Extinction

    Here is some information that should be of interest to everyone. It is given at the website of “American Bird Consevancy. The website is :

    https://abcbirds.org/news/kittycam-reveals-high-levels-of-wildlife-being-killed-by-outdoor-cats/

    “KittyCam” Reveals High Levels of Wildlife Being Killed by Outdoor Cats”
    August 6, 2012 • American Bird Conservancy
    ““If we extrapolate the results of this study across the country and include feral cats, we find that cats are likely killing more than 4 billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds. Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American bird species are in decline,” said Dr. George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy, the only organization exclusively conserving birds throughout the Americas.

    “I think it will be impossible to deny the ongoing slaughter of wildlife by outdoor cats given the videotape documentation and the scientific credibility that this study brings,” said Michael Hutchins, Executive Director/CEO of The Wildlife Society, the leading organization for wildlife professionals in the United States. “There is a huge environmental price that we are paying every single day that we turn our backs on our native wildlife in favor of protecting non-native predatory cats at all cost while ignoring the inconvenient truth about the mortality they inflict.””
    “The new study does not include the animals killed by feral cats that have no owners. A University of Nebraska study released last year found that feral cats were responsible for the extinction of 33 species of birds worldwide, that even well fed cats in so-called “managed” cat colonies will kill, that feral cats prey more on native wildlife than on other invasive creatures, and that most feral cats (between 62 and 80 percent) tested positive for toxoplasmosis (a disease with serious implications for pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems).”
    A question that might be ask is how many other animals should each cat be allowed to kill in its lifetime? Why is a cats life more valuable than any of the animals they kill? How many Species should house cat be allowed to drive into extinction?

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