First published on January 30, 2013.
The day after Christmas, here in New Mexico an 8 year old boy was killed by feral dogs. In 2011, it was estimated that on the Navajo Reservation, alone, there were as many as 445,000 dogs roaming unchecked, killing livestock, and biting people. They are killing cats, dogs, sheep, horses. One man lost 37 sheep to a pack of dogs. Nothing is ever done or said about it. But, let a cat kill a stupid bird and you would think the world is coming to an end.
The Pink Flamingo, though named after a bird that is inclined to be terribly tacky, does not like birds. I have a bird phobia. As far as I’m concerned, the only good about birds is that they evolved from dinosaurs. Other than that, I’d say let ’em all fly into buildings. They have horrible diseases, kill things, attack people, and are the biggest welfare recipients on the face of the earth. And yes, I always root for Silvester the Cat!
What do pigeons, sparrows, sea gulls, geese, crows, ravens, woodpeckers, starlings, swallows and turkey vultures have in common? They are considered Pests! Did you know that there are birds who are considered pests? You never hear about the diseases birds carry, or how dangerous birds are to humans. Do we eradicate people to save the vile little birds? There are over 60 known diseases birds carry, and can be contracted by humans. Did you know that birds are the top transmitter of bed bugs?
“..The bacteria, fungal agents and ectoparasites found in bird droppings are responsible for a host of serious diseases, including histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, toxoplasmosis and more…..”
The study rocking the news, a PAY for view paper, authored by a bird freak, is an old study based on material that has been completely debunked. If you looked at the headlines, you would think that cats are the root of all that is evil. Granted, The Pink Flamingo is highly biased because I am an unrepentant cat lover. This said, I completely understand the problems related to an exploding cat population.
The problem with Marra’s studies are the fact that there are no controls. They have been debunked, repeatedly. For them to be given such wide-spread attention is alarming, especially when one considers how many nuts out there. Just read the comments on last week’s Pink Flamingo post to see why such propaganda against cats is alarming. The study is so poor, it is little more than a high school experiment.
What city bound bird lovers don’t comprehend is that you find few feral cats outside of a population center. There are very few in rural areas because of creatures like coyotes. Feral cats can rarely exist in the ‘wild’ because they are far from apex predators. They are community dwellers, going where people exist. Unless they breed with a wild cat or bobcat population, they are as vulnerable to predators as are those vile little birdies cat bigots want to protect.
The ignorant hate against cats is now leading to such bigotry as this:
There are argument, pro and con about caring for feral cats. I know from the work my parents did, for nearly 10 years, dealing with feral cats, it is a battle that can be won, only to have the total population of cats completely destroyed by predators. What these pro-bird wildlife biologists fail to take into account is the fact that even protected cats are destroyed, almost at will by raccoons, bobcats, mountain lions, and coyotes, not to mention the damn birds of prey. My parents fed about 35 spayed & neutered cats, that roamed their property. Within a matter of two weeks nearly every cat disappeared. There are now no cats on their property other than the ones indoors. We’ve discovered they have been killed by mountain lions. No matter how you try to protect them, the mountain lions and coyotes kill them.
What fascinates The Pink Flamingo is that dogs are considered an “introduced” species, but cats are considered “invasive”. Why? Both dogs and cats are considered “introduced“, officially, but the invasive species bigots consider them invasive, and want to eradicate feral cats. You never hear discussions about eradication of feral dogs. Why?
One of the colleagues of Dr. Peter Marra is a convicted cat killer.
“…Small and slight, dressed in a slim gray suit, accused cat poisoner and wildlife biologist Dr. Nico Dauphiné stood in a Washington, D.C., courtroom in mid-December 2011. Earlier that year, a neighbor in Dauphiné’s Washington apartment building, suspecting that the biologist was tampering with the food left out for outdoor cats, called the Washington Humane Society cops. The Society’s law-enforcement team found poison on the food and dug up a surveillance video that seemed to show Dauphiné taking something from her purse as she passed near the food dish. And they learned that the biologist not only had been a vocal advocate of controlling outdoor cat populations to protect birds and other wildlife but also had sparked controversy as a graduate student in Athens, Georgia, for trapping free-roaming cats and taking them to the local shelter. “The Humane Society received hundreds of letters about issues with Nico in Georgia,” says Society law-enforcement officer Daniel D’Eramo, who gathered enough evidence over a month for an arrest warrant.
She didn’t poison the food, Dauphiné had insisted during the trial. But in October, Judge Truman Morrison III had found her guilty of attempted animal cruelty. Now she awaited her punishment, which included the threat of jail time. In a quavering and quiet voice, the wildlife biologist told the judge that she “felt deeply ashamed” for disappointing her supporters. Her sentence: 120 days of community service.
Justice done? It didn’t look that way to Dauphiné’s colleagues. “I am 100 percent confident she was not poisoning cats,” says University of Hawaii wildlife ecologist Christopher Lepczyk, who fears that she was convicted in part because of her articles about the cat-predation problem. “I don’t think anyone in the scientific community agrees that she is guilty.” Cat advocates were also aghast—for the opposite reason. They believed that a heinous criminal with a history of demonizing cats had gotten off far too lightly. A “low-life scumbag” who “lied her ugly face off,” Dauphiné “quite obviously is so far gone in both the morality and decency departments that she is beyond salvage,” fumed the Cat Defender blog.
Strong words—especially when the evidence against Dauphiné was circumstantial and no harm to cats was proven. But the case has highlighted just how high passions run when it comes to an increasingly vitriolic and high-stakes battle over what to do about tens of millions of outdoor cats. In scores of communities across the U.S., conservationists and scientists like Dauphiné are calling for greater controls, pointing to study after study documenting bloody carnage—including hundreds of millions of birds and small mammals felled by feline claw and tooth. “The numbers are mind-numbing,” says theologian and former professional trapper Stephen Vantassel, project coordinator for the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. But cat fanciers dispute those studies and are pushing for a policy of trapping and neutering (or spaying) free-roaming cats, then returning them to the outdoors. “It’s clear that cats are not an issue—and that misinformation is being heavily promoted,” says Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies, a group “dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of our nation’s cats.” Meanwhile, players on each side in this bitter struggle have pointedly suggested that the other is in urgent need of psychological counseling….”
In all fairness to Dr. Marra, he says he loves cats. I agree with him about the causes of death for cats in the wild. I would constantly argue with my mother about the cats living outside, begging her to take some to be adopted. But, things happen, and that’s that. It was an endless argument. It is an endless argument. I agree with Marra.
“...I don’t enter lightly into the long-standing debate about free-ranging cats. On one side are people who think cats have a right to roam freely; on the other are those who believe a cat’s only proper place is inside a home. I come down with the latter because, apart from their impact on wildlife, outdoor lifestyles ironically also have negative consequences for cats. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that free-ranging cats have half the life expectancy of indoor cats. Causes of cat death can be gruesome — getting hit by cars, being mauled by dogs or becoming a meal for foxes and coyotes. Life outdoors also means greater exposure to diseases such as toxoplasmosis and feline leukemia. Cats are now the most common domesticated animal to carry and transmit rabies to humans and other wildlife….”
“...The New York Times today looks at India’s problem with stray dogs, which the paper describes as a “menace” in its headline. That’s putting it mildly. The details are enough to horrify: Tens of millions of strays occupy the country, and they bite millions of people each year. On a random day in New Delhi, hundreds stream into a public hospital for treatment, having been bitten on their way home from work, or even in their homes. And in many cases the bites can prove deadly: Rabies kills 20,000 here each year, or more than a third of rabies casualties globally. (Dog bites cause 99% of those deaths.)…”
In New Zealand, the issue is being promoted by another one of those mega wealthy jerks with too much money and too much time. There are fears that this sort of thing will engender abuse. Why doesn’t Morgan want to eradicate dogs, which are listed as a problem to the New Zealand birds?
“...The domestic pigeon, a thirty million-year evolutionary success story, is a descendant of the European rock dove. Common throughout the world, the pigeon is now regarded as the primary urban pest bird. Originally introduced as a “domesticated” bird, the rock dove’s natural habitat was on rocky cliffs with protective ledges. By contrast, today’s “street” pigeon seeks a similar architectural nook as an overnight roost: recessed window ledges, eaves, parking garages and billboards. Daytime lofting sites run the gamut, from balconies to billboards.
Since pigeons mate for life and have a voracious sexual appetite (starting as early as four months of age), it is not unusual for a pair to produce more than 10 young per year. The squabs are air-borne within two months and generally roost in the same area. It does not take long before the flock number increases dramatically. With a life span of 10 or more years. no city-dwelling predators, and an unending food supply, the population increases exponentially.
The street pigeon, unlike any other species, will soil its own nest. Their droppings cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to property.
Feathered Pests in Society
Bird lovers abound in every city. Feeding the birds provides a pleasant diversion to city dwellers deprived of “wildlife”. There is a certain mystique associated with birds; witness the “little old lady in the park” with her bag of popcorn feeding the pigeons. Realistically, these aptly named air rats, through their droppings, are carriers of several serious diseases, including histoplasmosis, encephalitis and salmonella. Pigeons are also the hosts for various parasites such as fleas and ticks.
Not all of the blame is due to pigeons. Starlings, numbering in the thousands, are not an uncommon sight at power plants, city parks and office buildings. Seagulls in coastal areas (and moving increasingly inland) will often occupy an entire acre-sized roof or parking lot.
More alarming are the instances of bird strikes to aircraft. Damage to aircraft exceeds $50,000,000 annually. In a futile attempt to prevent bird strikes at JFK Airport, the USDA killed 28,000 gulls. Within a year, 14,000 had renested owing to adjacent breeding grounds.
Aquatic and flocking birds cause an estimated $100,000,000 of damage to United States agriculture annually. Even the seemingly innocent house sparrow causes enormous problems for the food industry. An extremely agile and intelligent bird, the sparrow will “hitch a ride” on a forklift to gain entry to a birdproofed building….”
Something else is at play here. Cats and dogs are both considered “introduced” species, but only cats are treated like invasive species. There is a serious and deadly problem with feral dogs in this country and world wide, but you never hear about dog eradication.
“...Feral dogs, as well as feral cats, are rapidly becoming a very serious problem in most if not all of the larger metropolitan areas throughout the world. Unfortunately these feral dogs, many which have been abandoned by uncaring owners, have not only survived their life on the streets but have also gone on to reproduce. This has further increased the numbers and has lead to some very real health and genetic concerns within these numbers. Feral dogs can be from any breed and most, especially if born as feral puppies, are going to be mixed breed, perhaps mixed breed for several generations. Although the number of wild or feral dogs is impossible to accurately predict, the National Geographic study of dog populations world wide was estimated to be at approximately 500 million. These is no doubt that this is on the conservative side since feral dog populations are found throughout any part of the world where there is a substantial human population. …”
There are more feral dogs roaming the world than feral cats, but nothing is said about the problems they cause, until cities began hunting them. Then there is a huge outcry. But, it is acceptable to eradicate cats. When dogs are feral, they are considered “stray” and not “invasive”. This is true, even when dogs run in pacts, where people are actually killed by them. Cats don’t destroy a person’s cattle like dogs do.
“...Ten years after a fourth-grade boy was attacked and nearly eaten alive by wild dogs in north St. Louis, city leaders are scrambling to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Aldermanic President Lewis Reed is sounding the alarm. “I’ve witnessed packs of dogs, 10 and 15 dogs running together, and I’ve seen all these dogs I’m talking about they don’t have collars, they don’t have tags, these are truly wild dogs,” he said.
Reed says stray dogs are terrorizing the north side. ”It’s obscene that parents have to walk their kids to school, in some parts of the city, with a golf club to fend off wild dogs.”…”
Detroit is over-run by over 50,000 stray dogs. Due to the nature of stray cats, it is very difficult to adopt or tame them, if they have not been handled by the time they are four or five weeks. Dogs are different. Stray or abandoned dogs are treated with compassion, even though they can be deadly to humans. A human is more likely to be killed by a dog than a shark! About 30 people are killed by dogs each year, in the US. How many people are killed by cats?
The real problem is sociological. Cats have been matched with witches. They have been accused of smothering babies. They are considered evil spirits. Primitive cultures and ignorant wretches blame cats for societal ills, and kill them.
This is what happens:
This is all absurd. If The Pink Flamingo has gone a little postal, there is a reason. Bird lovers don’t like cats. A flawed study about cats is published and the world goes anti-cat, how many billions of nasty little birds are killed. Guess what? I don’t care. Nothing is said about the millions of stray dogs that roam in packs, endangering not only cats, but killing livestock and even humans.
Even more alarming is the fact that, once again, as Western society is beginning to degenerate into a bit of ignorance, cats are being blamed, irrationally. It has been this way for well over a thousand years. This hatred of cats works hand in hand with a distrust and outright societal hatred of women. We’re now living in a war on woman, waged by the far right. Is it any wonder there’s a war on cats is being threatened?