According to Birder’s World magazine, the American Bird Conservancy is asking U.S. mayors to stop trap-neuter-release programs, and promote responsible pet ownership instead. In a letter to the editor by Darin Schroeder, the vice president of ABC, he writes that “TNR simply does not work in reducing the free-roaming cat problem”, and that “Ensuring responsible pet ownership must be at the core of any long-term solution to cat overpopulation.”
Unfortunately, the solution to the problem of feral cats killing birds is not this easy. While promoting responsible pet ownership is absolutely needed, there are still many feral cats out in the wild, and promoting responsible pet ownership will not stop the cats that are out there currently. While Schroeder writes that “ABC urged the mayors to support responsible pet ownership and to oppose Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs that promote the feeding of outdoor cats”, this statement is misleading. TNR’s main goal is not necessarily to feed feral cats, but to maintain colonies by spaying and neutering feral cats to control population.
Here are some of the benefits of TNR programs:
- Prevents more kittens from being born
- Cats are often vaccinated to prevent disease from spreading
- Some cats can be rescued for household pets, removing them from the street
- Better behavior with sterilization
- Less cats going to shelters due to sterilization
Schroeder is correct that more education is needed when it comes to promoting responsible pet ownership, and promoting that is at the foundation of animal rescue, rehabilitation, and care taking. Until more people accept responsibility for their pets and learn the importance of spaying and neutering and what it achieves for the pet population, TNR is a necessary resource.