Browsing the archives for the In the News category

The (Willfully) Blind Leading the (Willfully) Blind

If the Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative truly aims to “develop management strategies that are guided by sound science,” then its recently released White Paper on Feral and Free-ranging Domestic Cats (PDF) represents a glaring and inexcusable failure. Just two sentences into the three-page paper, the self-described “coalition of 102 non-governmental organizations, governmental agencies, and businesses” [...]


“The Science Points to Cats”? Not so Fast!

Mother sea otter with pup, photographed at Morro Rock, CA. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and “Mike” Michael L. Baird.
“The science points to cats,” proclaimed David Jessup (long-time opponent of TNR) and Melissa Miller in their contribution to the Spring 2011 Issue of The Wildlife Professional, in a special section called “The Impact of Free [...]


Who Benefits from NY Gov. Cuomo’s Veto of “TNR Bill”?

When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed Assembly Bill 2778 earlier this week, he adopted the “kitchen sink” approach so often used by TNR opponents, explaining himself this way:
“Although the goal of this bill is laudable, it is problematic for several reasons. First, I cannot support diverting [the State’s Animal Population Control Program Fund] funds [...]


Mythbusting Goes Prime Time!

When I launched Vox Felina in April, 2010, it was, I wrote, driven in part by “the flawed science promoted by many TNR opponents” and “the unbalanced—often dishonest—nature of the feral cat/TNR debate.” Five and a half years later, so-called scientists continue to churn out junk science (often a taxpayer expense) and the debate over [...]


National Feral Cat Day 2015

Today is, as I assume most readers know, National Feral Cat Day. And, as Alley Cat Allies (which launched the annual celebration 15 years ago) explains on the NFCD website (where you can find events in your area, by the way), this year’s theme is “The Evolution of the Cat Revolution.”
Among the most recent phases [...]


Let the Spin Begin!

The headline from a National Geographic story posted online earlier this week created immediate buzz: “Island’s Feral Cats Kill Surprisingly Few Birds, Video Shows.” Whether or not you were actually surprised, I suppose, depends largely on how much you’ve been paying attention to the issue.
The team of researchers whose work is described in the NatGeo [...]


Callous Cat Owners? Don’t Believe the Hype!

The mainstream media is having a field day with a new U.K. study—but it’s a celebration that’s largely uncalled for.
Let me set the scene:
It’s Spring 2010. You’re a cat owner in the small English village of Mawnan Smith, population about 1,500. And like most* of your fellow cat owners in the UK, you allow your [...]


The Whac-A-Mole Approach to Conservation

Marion Island, home to the greatest cat eradication “success story” is now apparently overrun with “killer mice.”
Hunting for cats on Marion Island. Source: unknown. (Indeed, it’s not even clear that this is truly Marion Island, although that’s certainly implied from the accompanying news story.)
It took 19 years to exterminate approximately 2,200 cats from barren, uninhabited [...]


L.A. Audubon President Renews Commitment to Shelter Killing

Promoting the Culture of Killing can’t be easy, what with public opinion strongly opposed to the lethal roundups of community cats [1, 2] and, more generally, the use of lethal methods as a shelter’s means of population control. [3] Nevertheless, there are those who persist.
Witness, for example, Travis Longcore’s comment on the Vox Felina Facebook [...]


L.A. Audubon President Puts Wildlife at Risk

Below is a letter I wrote in response to a recent L.A. Weekly story. Unfortunately—especially since I learned this only after compiling and submitting my comments—the paper doesn’t seem to publish any letters, despite providing an online form for precisely this purpose.
Seems a shame to let it go to waste…


Prank Culls

Recent research from Australia finds that lethal methods might actually backfire, increasing an area’s population of free-roaming cats.
While evidence of TNR’s effectiveness continues to mount, the case for the “traditional” approach to community cat management (i.e., complaint-driven impoundment typically resulting in death) grows increasingly indefensible. Of course, the very fact that the debate over “the [...]


Operation Catnip Launches National Training Program

Although no TNR effort can be successful without the ongoing commitment of veterinary professionals, this is especially true of high-volume clinics, where 100 surgeries per day is not unusual. This specialized work requires training well beyond what’s taught in a typical veterinary medicine program.
Soon, however, such training will be more accessible than ever before—as Operation [...]


The (Ig)Noble Pursuit of Public (Dis)Service

Two new public service campaigns from the American Bird Conservancy fly in the face of science, public opinion, and common sense.
For nearly 20 years now, it seems the people at the American Bird Conservancy have been willing to say whatever they thought they could get away with to promote the lethal roundup of “feral” cats. [...]


One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

Just two days after the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources’ Office of Oversight and Investigations released a damning review of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (mis)use of science in determining whether or not various plant and animal species should be protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Department of the Interior announced a [...]


Investigation Reveals Failures at U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Among the numerous eleventh-hour actions taken by the 113th Congress was the publication of a report, released Monday, by the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Office of Oversight and Investigations. Under The Microscope: An examination of the questionable science and lack of independent peer review in Endangered Species Act listing decisions (PDF) is, as the [...]


Thanks a Million (Cat Challenge)!

Maybe I’m being naïve, but yesterday’s launch of the Million Cat Challenge felt like something historic—as if we’ve entered into a new era of animal sheltering where cats are concerned. This ambitious campaign promises to be a game-changer not just for the million cats it aims to save (over the next five years), but for [...]


Rabies in Cats Continues to Decline

Well, this must be awkward—for some, anyhow. In particular, the people who continue to overstate the threat of rabies, leveraging whatever fear they can muster in their ongoing campaign to undermine community cat programs and TNR efforts.
Awkward or not, though, it’s a fact: the number of cats testing positive for rabies in the U.S. declined [...]


11 Signs of the American Bird Conservancy’s Desperate Struggle for Relevance

As most readers are undoubtedly aware, today is National Feral Cat Day. And at the risk of stating the obvious: NFCD has clearly become, to borrow a trendy phrase from social media, “a thing.” Now in its 14th year, there are hundreds of events going on around the country to mark the occasion.
All of which [...]


National Feral Cat Day 2014

National Feral Cat Day is just around the corner—October 16th. This year, celebrate in style with Feral Cat Mafia* gear!

Among the many items available from the Vox Felina shop are hoodies and long-sleeve t-shirts, perfect for fall! Better hurry if you want them in time for the big day, though, as expedited shipping is not [...]


American Bird Conservancy Fails Statistics 101

For those of you who might have missed my letter to The Baltimore Sun, published Saturday in response to a recently published letter by Grant Sizemore, Director of Invasive Species Programs for the American Bird Conservancy, here it is as it appeared in Saturday’s paper: