PETA's attitude towards feral cats continues to disturb. A PETA spokesperson said that TNR supporters live in a fantasy world.
You probably know by now that PETA (the non-profit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) want feral cats to be euthanised rather than saved and be the subject of TNR programs. Their argument is that feral cats live miserable lives and they are better of dead. It is an act of mercy to kill them. Their decision is also (and perhaps primarily) concerned with the predation of birds etc. by feral cats.
Like many others I cannot agree this policy. Many feral cats live decent lives and some are cared for brilliantly by volunteers involved in TNR.
Now PETA have decided that the 300 or so feral and stray cats living under the boardwalk at Seaside Heights would be better off dead. It just sounds so wrong to me.
Sometimes it is humane to kill cats humanely but mass slaughter of a colony of cats cannot be a humane way of dealing with feral cats.
The borough of Seaside Heights have decided to end their TNR program. There are volunteers with Seaside Heights Animal Welfare Organization in this borough who are dedicated to TNR and they are, as expected, upset by the borough's decision. But PETA support the borough's decision. See their letter below:
TNR is endorsed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and by the Humane Society. How can major organizations hold such different views on an important approach to dealing with feral cats? Shouldn't they get together and thrash out a united front?
Lisa Franciosi, the president of the Seaside Heights Animal Welfare Organization said that the cats have been cared for and maintained in colonies for years. Under these circumstances it cannot be right to agree to kill them. That is obvious and PETA need to be more flexible in their approach.
"Our volunteers are so connected to this program. These cats are taken care of so well. We have feeding stations for these cats. We don't allow people to throw food at them." (Lisa Franciosi)
In defense of their decision PETA say that:
- there are differences in the leadership of the Seaside Heights Animal Welfare Organization
- complaints from residents
- the feral cat colony encourages people to abandon their cats there
- the boardwalk is due to be moved for dune reconstruction
A PETA spokesperson said that TNR supporters live in a fantasy world. She said:
"Euthanasia can be much more humane than dumping an animal to struggle for weeks or years until they are hit by a car or the elements get them or kids light them on fire or other of the many, many dangers that befall abandoned domestic animals."
Comment: yes feral cats are vulnerable to abuse, disease and injury but when they live under a boardwalk and are being cared for these hazards are much reduced. This is borne out by the survival rates of the feral cats in the colony. A calico has lived for 10 years and many are beyond four-years-of-age.
PETA don't agree with TNR advocates' concept that a cat's death during winter due to climatic conditions is "natural attrition". PETA sees this as cruelty to animals.
Really the way to deal with these cats is not to advocate killing them but to refine the TNR program and introduce other elements such as animal laws banning abandonment of cats combined with serious fines and sharp enforcement. That and educational programs on neutering et cetera. There has to be a way that is an improvement to crudely killing animals which we brought into the world and encouraged to live in the urban wild.
- Seaside Heights Animal Welfare Organization provided the photo.
- Source: PETA says Seaside Heights boardwalk cats would be better off dead