Best Friends Blog
 

Tell University of Nebraska Corn Hucksters: We Are Not Buying What You Are Selling!

A recently published paper titled Feral Cats and Their Management, is getting some play by the media and being touted in Audubon Magazine as an authoritative study. The article released by the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension Service is biased work that includes a pest control contractor as one of the contributing authors.

The article primarily focuses on the supposed impact that free roaming cats have on wild bird populations and gives short shrift to TNR (Trap Neuter Return), the only demonstrably successful and humane form of community cat management.

The new twist to the Nebraska paper is that it attempts to quantify the damage in dollars. I would say that you can’t put a price on any life, but they do and come up with a nonsensical dinner tab for the ferals of $17 billion worth of birds!

Whaaa?

Part of their calculation includes the fact that hunters spend $216 per bird that they shoot. Apparently it is better for the economy to save the bird from the cat so some guy in camo gear can blow him away!

In truth, the number one cause of songbird decline is loss of habitat due to deforestation, urbanization and development…followed by window collisions, especially with high rise glass buildings, wind turbine generators, common pesticides and lawn care products. Cats have not been shown to be a significant threat to bird species in any credible scientific study.

Although ridiculous, this paper is not funny. Among the ways that they advocate to control feral populations:

“Shooting is an efficient method to reduce populations of cats in specific areas. Use  shotguns with No. 6 shot or larger, .22-caliber rifles, or air rifles capable of shooting 700 feet per second or faster (inside 20 yards and with pointed pellets). Aim shots between the eyes or in the heart/lung area to ensure a humane death. Shooting in urban areas is a very sensitive matter as many safety factors need to be considered. Consult local officials to determine if shooting is legal in your area.”

In a previous paper one of the authors had recommended injecting nail polish remover into the chest / lung cavities of skunks as an acceptable method of “euthanizing” that particular pest.

The Audubon Society should be embarrassed and ashamed for referencing this nonsense and the University of Nebraska should be likewise concerned.

Each year hundreds of thousands of community cats are sterilized and returned to their respective caregivers, never to breed again yet filling the niche in the neighborhood that would otherwise be taken up by other, as yet unsterilized breeding felines. Nature abhors a vacuum. If there is a food supply – a restaurant, grocery store or apartment complex dumpster, a rodent population (cats are rodent specialists) or the proverbial little old lady putting out a bowl of food on her back porch, removing one group of cats will only open the territory for others.

Catching and killing community cats is not only an unacceptable and inhumane approach, it does not regulate their numbers. Quite the contrary, if catch and kill worked, there would be no feral cat problem because that was the standard policy for decades prior to the growing implementation of TNR in the 1990’s.

There really is no conflict of issues or concerns here when it comes to bird conservancy and community cat advocacy as long as you remove that small subset of people who just hate cats…any and all cats…and want them dead. Bird advocates want fewer community cats and so do the community cat advocates.

The answer is TNR!

Please let the folks at Audubon and the University of Nebraska know how you feel about their phony science:

http://magblog.audubon.org/feral-cat-predation-birds-costs-billions-dollars-year

Click here for the University of Nebraska website.

Francis Battista

Co-founder

  • Pingback: uk online casinos()

  • Pingback: Bypassing UAE internet censorship()

  • Pingback: kangen water()

  • Pingback: kangen water machine()

  • Pingback: best bottled water()

  • Pingback: water ionizer()

  • Pingback: streaming movies()

  • Pingback: free movie downloads()

  • Pingback: watch free movies online()

  • Pingback: Blue Coaster33()

  • Pbregenz

    We recently moved to Dansville, NY on 55 acres. We are surrounded by 100s of acres of forest. We inherited a dozen feral cats. We have been able to capture many and have had them spayed or neutered. They mostly lounge at my front door (close to food source) and stare at my bird feeders. In 2 years, to my knowledge, evidence suggest that only 2 birds have been caught by this population of ferals. They are MUCH more interested in mice!!!

  • Laurie

    For the incredible $17B economic impact of feral cats number, the reference is Pimentel, Zuniga & Morrison, 2005. “Update on the environmental and economic costs associated with alien-invasive species in the United States,” Ecological Economics 52: 273-288. Interestingly, the text in the published article is less revealing than one would expect, and despite the simple math employed by the authors of this article, it still remains Mystery Math. Pimentel, Zuniga & Morrison contend that there are 63M pet cats in the U.S., and 30M feral cats. They write, “assuming 8 birds are killed per feral cat/year (McKay, 1996), then 240 million birds are killed per year in the nation. Each adult bird is valued at $30…” Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t $30 x 240M birds $7.2B?

    Notably, the piece by Pimentel, Zuniga and Morrison is not only about cats. It attempts to address (in summary) the economic cost of most alien-invasive species (at least by category) in the U.S. This includes the house mouse and the rat. Rats are estimated by them to cause $19B in economic damage – no estimate is given for the house mouse. Notably lacking from their work is any economic value to the cat in its role in providing pest-control services by hunting the mouse and young rats.

  • Dumas25

    I thought that it was only in Third World Countries they shot dogs and cats for population control… … what a sad reflection on our society… and we think ourselves so civilized… so superior…… so much better than elsewhere, so much better than others……

  • Ajlandon

    In defense of U of Nebraska (where I went for college), there are quite a few students, faculty, and staff to take it upon themselves to (1) capture the cats and kittens to take them in as permanent members of their families, (2) capture cats and kittens to have them spayed/neutered so they can be safely released, and (3) feed the campus cats.

    There are those at the University that want to kill off the campus cat population, but not all of us agree, and we are actively working toward keeping our campus cats from being killed, and educating the sorts of people who released that report.

    It would be great if others could join our fight against needlessly killing campus cats, and other community cats, by contacting the U of Nebraska. Please keep it civil, though! Angry emails and phone calls will only undermine all of the work we have been doing for all of these years! I know it is an emotional issue, but believe me, the administration and the people who wrote the report are NOT going to respond well to people name-calling, insulting, cursing, etc., and those contacts will be associated with our efforts!

    The contact information for the lead author in the original publication can be found here: http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/staff-member.asp?pid=1239

    For the second author, go here: http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/staff-member.asp?pid=653

    And here is the original publication (click on the “PDF” button): http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/index.jsp?what=publicationD&publicationId=1284

    If any of you have access to peer-reviewed articles on TNR, I urge you to send those to the researchers, as well (they will not respond well to blog posts, but might actually be willing to consider well researched, peer-reviewed articles on the subject).

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=17202497 Amanda J. Landon

      Here is the website for the official organization supporting UNL’s campus cat population – they run a TNR program and do outreach: http://huskercats.org/

      (Note – I do not belong to Husker Cats and am not a spokesperson for them – all of the work I did was through a loosely organized group of students, faculty, and staff who care about our campus cats. Still, I support their efforts! They have a press release about the recent article linked on their website).

  • XCRAZYBLUEYEDBLOND

    AS AN ADVOCATE FOR FERAL CATS, (WE HAVE 3 WE TRAPPED & NOW ARE PART OF OUR FAMILY), WHICH MAKES 7 CATS ALL THAT HAVE BEEN RESCUED. WE HAVE SAVED MANY OTHER FERAL LIVES. THOSE THAT COULD NOT BE ADOPTABLE WENT TO A SANCTUARY TO LIVE OUT THEIR LIVES IN COMFORT & LOVE. INSTEAD OF KILLING THESE CATS, WHY DOESN’T NE SET UP A PROGRAM SUCH AS ONE OF THESE SANCTUARIES TO HOUSE FERALS? ALSO, STUPID PEOPLE, YES I SAID STUPID, THAT HAVE CATS AS PETS, WHEN THEY NO LONGER WANT THEM, JUST OPEN THE DOOR & SHOVE THEM OUT. THIS IS ONE WAY THAT A NEW GENERATION OF “FERALS” ARE BORN.

  • Marilyn

    I love the way you write! Great style, great message!

  • Melissa Gray

    I emailed them about this last week and this was the bs response I got:

    Melissa,

    I am sorry to hear that you are troubled by our Extension Circular (http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/ec1781/build/ec1781.pdf). It was extensively researched and reviewed and has been identified by wildlife organizations as a “must read” for communities dealing with colonies of feral cats. We didn’t recommend killing cats in the EC. We recommended an integrated pest management perspective, which requires careful consideration of all control methods for dealing with feral cats. The text on lethal control makes up less than one fifth of the EC, yet some individuals focus on this aspect and disregard the rest. I prefer to not comment on the organization you identified because I do not agree with many of their fundamental principles and perspectives. Regarding euthanasia, we only included those humane methods (including gunshot to the head) that are sanctioned by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the organization that provides oversight on policy that governs the humane care and use of animals at all federally funded institutions.

    I have always tried to live up to the high educational standards of the UNL. I also have served on the UNL Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and have strived for a human future for all animals at UNL for 14 years. I am an advocate for responsible pet ownership, native wildlife, research-based information, and the right to protect personal property, which provided the impetus to write the EC.

    Sincerely,

    Scott E. Hygnstrom, Professor
    Extension Specialist – Wildlife
    School of Natural Resources
    University of Nebraska

    His email addy: shygnstr@unlnotes.unl.edu

  • Rjlarson88

    TNR is the only reasonable solution. Do some REAL research.

  • Laurie

    I manage a feral colony of 6 cats in a rural area and I can tell you after six years of doing it……they eat a lot of cat food, kill a few mice and moles but in the 6 years I have only seen them catch about 3 birds….2 of which I was able to get from them and take them to vet to recieve medical care and then later be released

  • Kristy Sweetland

    What a bunch of rubbish. Thank you for the truth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pedrolobo Peter J. Wolf

    It’s clear from this “report” that its authors have little understanding of the key issues surrounding TNR—never mind the relevant science. Hildreth, Vantassel, and Hygnstrom misread, misinterpret, and/or misrepresent nearly every bit of research they reference. And, some of what they include (e.g., the Wisconsin Study) isn’t valid research to begin with. (For a detailed critique of the UNL paper, please visit http://www.voxfelina.com.)

    The release of this paper adds nothing of value to the debate about feral cat management. The fact that it’s been embraced by the American Bird Conservancy, the Audubon Society, and others, says more about the questionable integrity of these organizations than it does the validity of the report.

    How this ever got out the door (peer-reviewed, apparently, by somebody) with UNL’s approval is beyond me, and the administration there has yet to reply to my inquiries.

    Peter J. Wolf
    http://www.voxfelina.com

  • Ledyv

    please sign the petition asking the university to retract this bogus study at
    http://animals.change.org/blog/view/university_of_nebraska-lincoln_report_advocates_shooting_cats

    • Becky Dodge

      Signed

    • Anonymous

      Signed, and I posted it on my Facebook page. People like this make me so furious! I have 5 cats… all rescues. 3 were feral, now, they are very contented spayed housecats!

  • Lovefelines2003

    Thank you Francis – I had not heard this until today and it disgusting and ridiculous! I volunteer at Fix Nation and Catnippers here in Los Angeles and have managed feral colonies before, and like all here, I know it works and is the only way! I will definitely be contacting the Univ. of Nebraska right now.

  • Susan

    Hi Francis, Thanks for the positive article on cats and TNR. There is a petition set up to sign that will go to the U. Nebraska administration: http://animals.change.org/blog/view/university_of_nebraska-lincoln_report_advocates_shooting_cats

  • Gloria Hill

    Thanks, Francis, for this eye-opening, common sense response!