National US cat advocacy organization Alley Cat Allies is collecting signatures on a petition telling the Smithsonian to stop accepting and promoting the so-called junk science behind the demonization of free ranging cats as the scourge of nature.
The organization sent out a mass email encouraging supporters to join them in fighting back for the cats. The message reads, in part:
Articles scapegoating cats have been all over the news this [last] week, from The New York Times to USA Today.
These stories are based on biased research that could lead to more outdoor cats being rounded up and killed. It’s absolutely horrifying.
The media are relying on a so-called “study” funded by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Migratory Birds that recklessly perpetuates a bogus debate. It’s propaganda, and Alley Cat Allies is demanding that the Smithsonian denounce it.
This “study” is a direct attack on our progress with Trap-Neuter-Return. In communities across the country, TNR stabilizes and reduces the population of feral cats and saves millions of cats from being killed in shelters. This Smithsonian report is a desperate attempt to set back that progress.
Please, don’t let that happen. We need you to stand with us right away. We have to stop this junk science advocating for the mass killing of cats and immediately combat the lies.
If you’d like to add your name, you can click the link below for the petition page:
The organization sent out the following press release on the matter on January 30:
ALLEY CAT ALLIES RESPONDS TO NATURE STUDY’S CLAIMS ON CATS AND BIRDS
Calls study sensational, distorted science that relies on old or discredited research
BETHESDA, MD— Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, responded to a biased study on cats and wildlife published in the journal Nature, which it called a veiled promotion by bird advocates to ramp up the mass killing of outdoor cats.
“This study is part of a continuing propaganda campaign to vilify cats,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies. “It seems as if the authors landed on a conclusion first and then cherry-picked through studies to support it. Some of the research they cite is more than a half-century old. They even cite discredited researcher Nico Dauphine, who was convicted by a D.C. jury for trying to poison cats and then fired from her job at the Smithsonian. The researcher convicted of trying to poison cats worked for Marra, one of the authors of this study.”
“This so called ‘survey of research’ seems just another misguided attempt to draw attention to the decline of wildlife by manufacturing a fake debate. The study conveniently sidestepped the primary culprit of decline of wildlife populations which, of course, is human activity including habitat destruction.
“The authors also neglect to mention that their proposed ‘solution’ really endorses continuing the same failed policies of the last century which call for the mass killing of cats. Tens of millions of healthy cats have already been killed in animal pounds and shelters, at great taxpayer expense, without achieving anything. A policy of just more killing can never be the right answer,” she said.
Robinson noted that Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) does work to end reproduction and to stabilize the population of feral cats, and that is why every year a growing number of communities turn to TNR as an innovative, compassionate and common-sense approach.
“Because of the success of TNR—which stabilizes and then reduces the population—places where there were once large colonies of feral cats have seen those colonies fade away. There is good reason for cities to change from ‘catch and kill’ to ‘neuter and return.’
“The threats to birds and wildlife with real impact—pollution and habitat fragmentation and destruction—are the ones without ‘easy’ answers,” said Robinson. “Americans should not be fooled by sensational headlines and bad science. Killing cats will not save species of birds or mammals.”