Browsing the archives for the David Jessup tag

War on Nature, War on Cats

In Nature Wars, to be released next week, award-winning journalist Jim Sterba argues that it’s time for Americans to reconnect with nature—and what better incentive than a massive lethal control campaign against any number of plants and animals, including feral cats? His book reflects attitudes that are out of step with contemporary culture, and a [...]

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Free-Roaming Cats, Infectious Diseases, and the Zombie Apocalypse

A recently published paper describing free-roaming cats as “a significant public health threat” fails to deliver convincing evidence. In fact, the very work the authors cite undermines, time and time again, their claims.
“Domestic cats are a potential source of numerous infectious disease agents,” write Rick Gerhold and David Jessup, in their paper, “Zoonotic Diseases [...]

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The Silent Treatment

“I don’t want to be sort of a poodle dog when I’m out there, and a friendly sort of presence in people’s lives,” explained New York Times reporter David Carr in an October 2011 interview with Fresh Air host Terry Gross, “and then come back and do something that’s really mean or aggressive.”
“And if [...]

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Loose Threads

North American Opossum with winter coat. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Cody Pope.
A study published last month in the online open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases suggests a new twist in the relationship between free-roaming cats, Toxoplasma gondii, and toxoplasmosis infections in marine mammals.
“The most remarkable finding of our study,” notes co-author Dr. Michael [...]

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Spoiler Alert

Coming up this Wednesday: “Impacts of Free Roaming Cats on Native Wildlife,” a Webinar sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Registration, from what I can tell, appears to be open to the public—though I’m still awaiting a confirmation e-mail (which will include, I hope, some clarification re: time zone for this “2:00–3:00 pm” [...]

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Close Enough?

Among the findings of a recent study:
Five of 18 cats trapped “between the spring and fall of 2008 and 2009” in central Illinois’ 1,500-acre Robert Allerton Park tested positive for Toxoplasma gondii antibodies. Five of the seropositive cats were trapped at the same site; there, one white-footed mouse (of 21 trapped) also tested positive, and [...]

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It’s Not the Media, It’s the Message

To hear The Wildlife Society’s staunch opponents of TNR tell it, the media’s just not interested in stories about “the impacts of free-ranging and feral cats on wildlife.”

“This January when thousands of blackbirds fell from the sky in Arkansas, articles about mass extinctions and bird conservation were a dime-a-dozen. When the Deepwater Horizon oil [...]

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A House Deluded

On February 25th, the Utah House of Representatives voted rather decisively—44 to 28—in favor of HB 210, which would amend the state’s animal cruelty laws. Whether or not the representatives knew what they were voting for, however, is anybody’s guess.
Listening to the floor debate, one gets the impression there were two—maybe three—different bills up for [...]

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Keys: To the Future

Below is a slightly reformatted version of the comments I submitted in response to the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex Integrated Predator Management Plan/Draft Environmental Assessment. A PDF version is available here.
•     •     •
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to comment on the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex Integrated Predator Management [...]

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On Invasion and Persuasion

Smithsonian magazine is, according to its website, “created for modern, well-rounded individuals with diverse interests” and “chronicles the arts, history, sciences and popular culture of the times.” Jess Righthand’s recent article, “The World’s Worst Invasive Mammals,” seems—despite its inclusion in the online edition’s “Science & Nature” section—better suited for the pop culture category.
Indeed, the story [...]

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Rap(tor) Sheet

Perhaps it’s an act of desperation, this “kitchen sink” approach favored by some free-roaming cat/TNR opponents. Throw everything—including the kitchen sink—into the anti-cat argument, and perhaps something will stick. Their impact on wildlife and the environment, for instance, or their threat to public safety—it seems there’s something for everybody. (Surely it’s only a matter of [...]

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Docs’ Docs

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently made available online (via downloadable PDFs) several of its articles related to free-roaming cats/TNR. Although abstracts have been online for some time, access to the full text for these papers has generally required either a subscription to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association or access to [...]

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Parasite Lost

Until now, my posts have focused almost exclusively on wildlife impacts (real and otherwise) related to predation by cats, a topic I’ll be returning to soon enough. Over the past week or so, however, I’ve been researching the Toxoplasma gondii parasite (another subject that will keep me busy well into the future). As it turns [...]

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Sanctuary In Name Only

Although Vox Felina was launched in April of this year, its origins can be traced back to 2007 and the town of Pahrump, Nevada. There, 748 cats were abandoned in the summer heat—left sick, starving, and dehydrated by the very people who claimed to be their rescuers. Were it not for the heroic efforts of [...]

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