August 17, 2015
Environmentalists” Kill Millions of Cats and Birds
President Obama owns two adorable dogs, Bo and Sunny. Clearly, he likes animals. So, it’s puzzling why his administration supports global environmental policies and federally-subsidized energy technology that endangers animals like cats and birds.
Sadness and anger echoed around the world when an American dentist shot Cecil the lion, a protected animal, in Zimbabwe. But where is the shock and disappointment over the fact that Australia plans to spend some $6 million to shoot, poison and trap 2 million feral cats? And why has the Obama administration applauded Australia’s plans while making a big show of seeking justice for Cecil?
I support hunting as a wildlife conservation method that treats animals with dignity. However, Australia’s plan does not fall into this category because hunting is not effective for managing feral cat populations. Additionally, our administration is sending the unhealthy message that some cats—namely “celebrity” cats like Cecil—deserve more attention than non-celebrity feral cats that help keep rodent populations in check.
“By 2020, I want to see 2 million feral cats culled, five new islands and 10 new mainland areas as ‘safe havens,’ free of feral cats, and control measures applied across 10 million hectares,” said Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt upon announcing Australia’s plan.
John Berry, the U.S. ambassador to Australia, was present during Hunt’s announcement. Berry took the time to laud Australia’s “leadership position” on wildlife preservation. Meanwhile, another representative of the Obama administration led a global investigation to protect one particular cat:
“USFWS is investigating the tragic killing of #CecilTheLion. Will go where facts lead. Efforts to contact Dr. Palmer so far unsuccessful,” tweeted U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe on July 30.
Many experts believe that the most effective and caring way to manage a feral cat population is through a process of “trap, neuter and return” (TNR). Disneyland in California has successfully employed TNR for over a decade. By managing the cats instead of killing them en-masse, Disneyland has been able to keep mice (the non-Mickey kind!) in check.