A US Navy base in Spain has been accused of capturing stray cats in cages and has drawn suspicion for failing to explain the missing felines.
With the long history of ship’s cats, and the connotations that that brings to the relationship between cats and seafarers, it is disturbing to read about the US Navy trapping feral cats at the Rota Base in Cadiz province, Spain, whereupon the cats are said to “disappear”.
The big question is: are the cats the cats being killed? Or is this part of a TNR program run by the Navy? Er..no I don’t think so. It would naive of anyone to think that the navy were trapping feral cats on their base to then neuter them and return them to the base. It is odds on that the US Navy in Cadiz are engaged in trap and kill.
If the are, they are doing it with the approval of the local administration — the Ministry of Environment of the Junta de Andalucía (the navy tells us).
A local animal shelter, Siempre Contigo, are switched on to what is happening. The shelter staff have said that the traps have a sign reading:
“US government property. Tampering or destruction is unlawful, under both Spanish and American law.”
A spokesperson for Siempre Contigo, Carmen de los Santos, said:
“People who tried to open the cages to let the cats out were told there would be consequences…and the workers are outraged.”
They have been trying since March to discuss the matter with the US Naval base management. There seems to be a reluctance to do so from which we can infer that they have something to hide. The animal shelter would like the US Navy to cease what they are doing until they meet to work out a more humane process. They want the naval base to do TNR. It won’t happen. Sorry. The naval base has refused to clarify what happens to the trapped cats.
In addition, the navy is blocking access to the base of workers who are defending the cats. They have made the point that some mother cats have been trapped while foraging for food for their kittens leaving the kittens to starve.
It is not a good story. In fact it goes against the grain somewhat. Often we read about US military personnel forming close relationships with cats and dogs while on duty. They wish to bring their newfound companion home to America and sometimes achieve this.
However the relationship between animal and the US military has not always been decent and humane. Peta has reported that the US military:
“..test all manner of weaponry on animals, from bombs to biological, chemical and nuclear agents….purchase dozens of dogs from animal shelters and shoot them on a firing range in Maryland.”