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Aggie Ferals: "Weeds" or Victims?

TNR vs Eradication


Despite the urging of wildlife conservation groups, eradication simply does not work. Cats Magazine has this to say about eradication:

    Many cities, counties, and organizations list feral cat management under "pest control," with "eradication" as the preferred method of handling feral cat colonies. According to Holton [Alley Cat Allies] and other researchers, however, eradication attempts have had little success in reducing the feral cat population, which ACA estimates as being somewhere between 60 and 100 million in the U.S. alone.
It has been found that a managed care program, coupled with Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return is less expensive in the long run and more successful than simply Trap and Eradicate. The City of San Jose (CA) recently instituted a free spay/neuter voucher program which, according to Karen Johnson of the National Pet Alliance, cuts down greatly the City's costs in dealing with strays.

    "Setting the cost of testing cats for common contagious diseases, vaccinating them against rabies, and neutering them at $52 apiece, substantially more than the $21.11 average cost per cat in the San Jose program (which covers only neutering), Johnson discovers savings of $18 per cat over the cost of keeping a cat for the mandatory three days in a shelter prior to euthanasia. "
    Animal People Online

If it works, don't fix it!
Feral cat are very territorial, and will defend their colonies from outsiders. Remove and kill them, and more outsiders simply move in. That TNR aka TNVR works well is demonstrated by the figures from these groups:

  • San Diego Feral Cat Coalition
    "After 4 1/2 years we've been able to sterilize over 7000 cats. The county Dept. of Animal Control shelters report a decrease of almost 50% in cat impounds and euthanasias since the FCC was formed. Other local shelters report similar declines, sometimes complaining of a shortage of available kittens for adoption. The FCC method works!"
  • Campus Cat Coalition (University of Texas)
    "Our program has been in effect since 1995. We have trapped/neutered/released 64 adult feral cats; removed/socialized/homed 71 kittens and removed/homed 14 friendly strays. We have not seen any new litters of kittens in the past 2 years. We are currently at a zero population growth rate! Can't argue with those statistics, can you?"
  • Cal Poly Cat Program
    Started in 1992 with approximately 500 cats, colony is stabilized with around 100 remaining.
  • Stanford Cat Network
    Founded in 1989 with an estimated 500 cats. The population has declined by two-thirds and the remainder are healthy cats, thanks to the TNR program
  • AFCAT (Aggie Feral Cat Alliance of Texas)
    In existence for around 21 months, the Aggie's feral cats number has been reduced by one-third, and no feral kittens have been trapped for twelve months.

I'd say the evidence is pretty compelling, wouldn't you? The remaining question, of course, is whether the Aggie wildlife experts will stick to educating the public on the need for spay/neuter and allow AFCAT the freedom to continue their TNR activities which have proven successful in controlling the Aggie feral population.

In the plant world there are many "weeds" that are now considered "endangered species." Feral cats should never be allowed to fall into this category. Louise Holton, of Alley Cat Allies, sums it up best:

    "It is not ethical to protect one innocent animal by doing something cruel and inhumane to another. Lethal control cannot be ethically justified. Birth control and altering human behavior are both proven methods of humane control that work. Alien, exotic, feral, or invasive species of animals - whatever you choose to call them -are just as much the victims of human greed, neglect and ignorance."

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