Browsing the archives for the Travis Longcore tag

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…


Thinking Inside the Box

It’s difficult to determine how these things get started—how the results of a well-documented experiment conducted nearly 40 years ago become twisted into the frequently made—and widely-accepted—claim that “even well-fed cats hunt.”
This would appear to be a case of validity through repetition: repeat a claim often enough and, eventually, people will come to believe it’s [...]


Audubon Editor Suggests Poisoning Feral Cats

Armed with the recently published “killer cat study” from the Smithsonian Biological Conservation Institute and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, TNR opponents are calling for increasingly extreme measures.
Travis Longcore was among the first, telling KCET reporter Judy Muller that “managing and controlling unowned, free-roaming cats will require euthanasia. There are not enough shelter spaces, there [...]


The Agenda Behind Agenda-driven “Science”

What do you get when public policy is based on agenda-driven junk science? If various TNR opponents have their way, we’ll find out the hard way.

As I pointed out shortly after the Smithsonian/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “killer cat study” was published, the paper actually has very little to do with science or conservation. At [...]


Impaired Vision

Opponents of trap-neuter-return are long on rhetoric, but short on alternatives—at least ones they’ll discuss openly.

We just want the cats gone.
Yeah, well, I want a pony.
I don’t actually say that, of course. Not usually, anyhow—in part, because the two wishes are hardly comparable. If I really wanted a pony, I’d simply go buy one (a [...]


2011 Trap Liner Award

Referring to a particularly poor piece of journalism, a friend of mine suggested—recalling the irreverent moniker her late husband had given their own local paper—the newspaper in which it had appeared was perhaps best used for lining birdcages.
Twenty months into this blog, I’ve encountered my share of yellow journalism infecting both small-town weeklies and, with [...]


The Feral Feeding Movement

“SF Weekly is San Francisco’s smartest publication. That’s because we take journalism seriously, but not so seriously that we let ourselves be guided by an agenda.”
At least that’s what the paper’s Website says.
Now, as somebody who reads SF Weekly only rarely, I want to be careful not to generalize. But if last week’s feature story [...]


Going Native

Evidence of cats as pets? In Cyprus, 9,500 years ago (left) and, 3,500 years ago, in Peru (right).
As reported in yesterday’s New York Times, the history of the domestic cat is being rewritten—yet again. (Whether this piece gets the same attention as Elisabeth Rosenthal’s “Tweety Was Right” story remains to be seen—and I, for one, [...]


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 [...]


Exceptional Predator

Using Google to translate the page’s contents, it seems this bird—despite “mock[ing] the cat and with loud cries of diving at him from the branches of acacia”—was yet another one that got away.
In the third edition of his massive book Ornithology—“the classic text for the undergraduate ornithology course,” according to the description on—Frank Gill [...]


Revisiting “Reassessment”

“Reassessment: A Closer Look at ‘Critical Assessment of Claims Regarding Management of Feral Cats by Trap-Neuter-Return’” has been revised and expanded!

This paper, a brief review and critique of the essay “Critical Assessment of Claims Regarding Management of Feral Cats by Trap-Neuter-Return” by Travis Longcore, Catherine Rich, and Lauren M. Sullivan, now includes sections [...]


Without Apologies

The conversation continues on Audubon magazine’s blog, The Perch, with Travis Longcore doing everything he can to dodge the straightforward question I posed: If TNR and the feeding of feral cats are outlawed, then what will become of the many, many cats no longer receiving human assistance?
Among the topics he prefers to discuss are—and I [...]


Conversation Killer

Over the weekend, a comment (criticizing, once again, the recently released University of Nebraska-Lincoln “report”) I posted on Audubon magazine’s blog, The Perch, drew fire from Travis Longcore.
Longcore, of course, is the lead author of the widely circulated paper, “Critical Assessment of Claims Regarding Management of Feral Cats by Trap-Neuter-Return” and Science Director for [...]


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 [...]


Garden Tool

The timing was uncanny. Four days after my post “Inside Job,” Washington Post columnist Adrian Higgins reported incorrectly that two-thirds of pet cats are allowed outdoors. Higgins doesn’t mention where he got that figure, but considering the sources he used for the piece—including the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), The Wildlife Society, and Dauphiné and Cooper’s [...]


Red Herrings, White Lies, and Blue Birds

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds in Michigan, USA. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons and Sandysphotos2009
As I sift through my growing collection of studies, news stories, press releases, and anything else relevant to the free-roaming cats/TNR debate, it’s not unusual for me to be diverted by a seemingly minor item—a claim, interpretation, or reference that simply doesn’t [...]


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 [...]


Science Meets Fiction

“The reason that we have a peer review process is to assess the quality and likely validity of scientific data and their interpretation… One goal of the peer review process is to assess an author’s command of the existing literature and whether or not it is being cited selectively to support the author’s views, without [...]


Out-Sciencing the Scientists

Although it’s taken me two months to respond, it took less than two weeks for Vox Felina to come under attack by feral cat/TNR opponent Michael Hutchins, CEO and Executive Director of The Wildlife Society. In his post, Hutchins accuses me of trying to “out-science the scientists,” and refers to my critique of the essay [...]