Tuesday, June 2, 2009

cats and birds and who's to blame?

the new york times is running an article today questioning the old debate between birders and cat enthusiasts - who's killing all the birds? with no real conclusions reached in the article we thought we'd go ahead and side with team cats; not because we are biased by our cat-worshipping, or our rallying against that stupid cat-shooting bill, or because we don't love birds (we do!), but because there is plenty on information out there that exonerates the cat and places the blame squarely on human shoulders.

"in a 2000 report by the World Conservation Union surveying 1,173 threatened bird species, habitat loss was the most important threat, affecting 83% of the bird species sampled. across the United States, little land is left untouched by human development, modification, fragmentation, and pollution. already human activities have led to the extinction of 10% of the world’s bird species—in some locales, that number rises to as much as 90%. today more than a thousand bird species are listed as threatened, and scientists predict between 500 and 600 of those will go extinct in the next 50 years. "

alley cat allies, whose mission is "to end the killing of cats and lead the movement for their humane care," is one of the leading proponents of trap-neuter-return programs that seek to reduce the populations of feral cat colonies over time via sterilization and natural die-off, which in turn helps lower the feline threat to birds. killing the cats would not take pressure off the birds because there will always be more cats to move into that newly opened-up area, where resources (rodents, birds) will again be plentiful. t-n-r places the fixed cats back into their territory, where their presence prevents other cats from moving in.

nobody wants the birds to die, but we also don't want an entire species of animal to take the fall. we are all responsible for our part in the world. let's work towards a better future where we won't have to worry about losing any species of animal.

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