“Just killing them is not the answer. It’s not humane and it does not work,” said Libby Post.
I am beginning to believe that New York state is the most progressive of all the states in America with respect to the health and welfare of both domestic and feral cats. Why do I think this?
Not long ago we were told about proposed legislation which is being debated at the moment which would ban the declawing of cats in New York state. It takes a lot of balls to ban declawing statewide. It has not been achieved as yet and if it is achieved by New York state then it will be a momentous step forward for the people who care about the welfare of domestic cats.
Now, we are told that the state legislators propose a law which would allocate about $200,000 per annum to community-based efforts concerning trap neuter and return programmes.
The bill, which has passed the state Assembly, is now before a state Senate committee. It may get stuck at this point because as usual there are lots of detractors to such proposed laws because there are a lot of detractors to the well-known process of trap-neuter-return (TNR). Why do some groups dislike TNR?
It’s all about serving self-interest. It is rarely about what’s humane or inhumane. It’s about trying to get away with what you can get away with and which supports your own interests. So, for example, the ornithologists are against TNR because it leaves feral cats on the streets and in parks where they can prey on native species of birds and they always declare that the feral cat is a non-native species. It hurts them to know that a non-native species is preying upon their native birds (and they always exaggerate the number of birds killed). They prefer killing feral cats as does People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA say that TNR simply promotes more misery for feral cats and the more humane process is to simply to kill them.
Another group against TNR is the New York State Conservation Council who advocate hunting and is “the oldest conservation organization in New York State”. No doubt they also wish to kill feral cats en masse rather than gradually reduced their population size in a humane way through TNR.
These groups want to eliminate feral cats and they don’t mind how they do it but they don’t realise that, carried out properly, TNR would meet their objectives in eliminating feral cats but in a thoroughly humane manner. It would just take too long as far as they are concerned.
There are many supporters of the proposed law to fund and promote TNR in New York state:
- American Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- Humane Society Of the United States
- Cornell University College Of Veterinary Medicine
- New York State Conference of Mayors
- County Health Officials of New York State
- New York City Bar Association
- Mayor’s Alliance the New York City’s Animals
- New York State Animal Protection Federation
The money to run the proposed program would ultimately be raised via dog licence fees.
One of the most compelling arguments for TNR compared to trapping and killing is that it is cheaper to do the former. Direct costs to hire professionals to trap and kill a feral cat varies between 1$00 and $125 per cat. TNR costs a fraction all that: from $35-$55 per cat. Sometimes vets work for free.
The ornithologists say that TNR is less effective than trapping and killing. They even argue that TNR can increase population sizes. From my experience of reading a lot about feral cats there is firm and increasing evidence that TNR works effectively to reduce population sizes of feral cats when carried out properly but there is a need for more data to support TNR. In places where it is conducted successfully there are often plans to enlarge the process.
Once again, feral cats polarise opinions and the battle lines are being drawn. The same sort of battle lines are often drawn between people who wish to ban declawing and those who wish to keep it going. Although there is nothing on God’s earth which can justify declawing except that it makes a lot of money for the veterinarians.
- The NY State bill being debated is proposed by Assemblyman John McDonald, D-Cohoes, (AB 2778) and Republican state Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon (S 1081). The law would allow non-profits to apply for the right to administer TNR programs and if granted enter into a contract for five years (renewable).
- Source: Feral cat bill would fund ‘trap-neuter-release’….