Categories: conservation

What do Americans think about the European Union’s statement that they support the right of domestic cats to freedom of movement?

You may have picked up on the claim by a couple of Dutch professors that European Union laws prevent cat owners allowing their cats to go outside except on a leash. The scientists’ argument is that free-roaming outside cats damage wildlife, particularly birds – the old, classic argument that we hear a lot. Incidentally, I don’t understand why birds are given priority over other wild animals.

Larry and Boris. Photo: no idea who took it. Probably one of his advisers at No 10. At the heart of the UK government we have a free-roaming domestic cat, Larry.

As soon as the discussion surfaced I wrote an article saying the professors’ arguments were incorrect. I was proved correct but I wasn’t being particularly clever. I was applying common sense, something the academics in this instance lacked. Or were they the voice of ornithologists? It seems the war of words between cat lovers and bird lovers has entered the highest echelons of European government.

A discussion was started over whether the EU laws (directives and regulations) could be construed to banish domestic cats to the indoors. It was soon reported online that the EU Commission (the EU executive body which formulates law):

“The Commission is a strong defender of free movement rights — including of cats…The commission is not aware of the study in question…The information that we have is that the disturbance and killing of birds and other wild species by cats is not among the main pressures and threats to biodiversity…” – Enrico Brivo, the executive’s environment spokesman.

For cat lovers this is quite a nice statement coming from someone in such an elevated place of influence in the EU. It is a statement which protects the status quo of free-roaming domestic cats rather than protecting wildlife. What do Americans think about it?


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Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

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