The State of New York is considering a controversial feral cat management bill that is opposed by multiple organizations.
The proposed feral cat management bill would set aside approximately $200,000 annually in order to trap, neuter, vaccinate and return feral cats to the area where they were trapped.
The bill is strongly opposed by many organizations that don't normally see eye to eye, such as PETA, Audubon New York, the New York State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the New York State Conservation Council, a pro hunting and fishing group.
Groups opposed to the feral cat management bill state studies that indicate that trap, neuter, vaccinate, and return (TNVR) programs aren't very effective in controlling feral cat populations over the long-term. They also note that feral cat populations present a public health risk and can cause significant damage to wildlife, such as small mammals and birds.
Chuck Parker, president of the New York State Conservation Council, stated:
It's so absurd. I don't know what these people are thinking. Feral cats are, in ecological terms, correctly defined as an invasive species. Ideally, feral cat populations should be eliminated completely. At the very least, any feeding or maintenance activities should be discouraged; and programs to educate pet owners and discourage activities that support feral populations should be undertaken.
Grant Sizemore, of the American Bird Conservancy, stated that:
Permitting and maintaining feral cats roaming in parks and neighborhoods is a recognized risk by public health scientists, agencies and professional organizations such as the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians. Cats are consistently the number one carrier of rabies among domestic animals and pose a disproportionate risk for potential human exposure. Rather than providing funding for a program that will maintain roaming hordes of feral cats outdoors, the state would be better served by treating cats like dogs and to actively and effectively remove these feral animals.
Scientific studies indicate that feral cats in the United States kill millions of small mammals and birds each year. Even if they are spayed or neutered and vaccinated, feral cats are still going to extract a frightful toll on the populations of small mammals and birds as long as they are present in the wild.
Trapping and euthanizing, rather than neutering, vaccinating, and returning these feral cats to the wild, seems like a better conservation move.