(I just could’t continue with the K’s)…
David Petersen is a bowhunter and a good writer; I think of him as an old shaman of the antler totem, and he has just received an award from the Back Country Hunters and Anglers. Here he is with a fine bull elk.
But he is not looking for praise; he is spearheading the effort to make Audubon Magazine live up to its historic principles of bird conservation, and reinstate conservation writer Ted Williams, fired for arguing for the euthanasia of feral cats, considered a major factor in the loss of breeding songbirds. My take is further down on the page, and I agree 100%. Dave?
“At the suggestion of Audubon, Mr. Williams, quite recently, wrote a short piece for the Orlando Sentinel
detailing the horrific annual slaughter of songbirds in North America
by cats, both well-fed and alley variety. A focus of Ted’s article was
on the inhumanity and ineffectiveness of the currently dominant method
of public feral cat control, which involves trapping, neutering, and
release back onto the streets to continue killing birds and other
wildlife. Rather than this failed and inhumane program, Ted pointed out,
it would be both more effective and more merciful to these millions of
starving homeless cats, to trap and euthanize them. Ted went on to point
out the ready availability of an inexpensive, effective and human
cat-specific drug that authorities could be using for cat euthanasia,
rather than a less effective concoction used in the past. From that, the
Kat Krazies eagerly and viciously misinterpreted that Williams’ was
advocating that you and I should go out and start poisoning kitties in
the park, which he had not said at all…”
Read the rest here, and join Dave’s campaign to rehire a quality journalist who brought a real problem into focus.
Two more points: cat haters may for all I know be present in this campaign “against” cats, but its impetus was from a group of scientists involved in bird conservation. I have owned nearer ten than five cats, and my not having any is more a function of living in a four room house with five dogs and a hawk, and priorities.
Second, while a cat lovers group has objected to the methods of the study that implicated cats as significant songbird predators, studies in Australia and England came to the same conclusion. Especially if you live in an area of ground nesting birds, at least til we know better, keep those kitties in!
UPDATE 26 March: Matt Miller says Ted has been rehired. No oficial word but Matt has good connections and I asssume he is right!