Thursday 15 June 2023

Texas protects and supports TNR volunteers (2023)

NEWS AND VIEWS - TEXAS, USA: Until now Texans had a rather peculiar way of interpreting TNR programs (trap-neuter-release). They interpreted the release part of TNR as cat abandonment, a minor crime. Can you believe it? A bit weird because the release part of TNR follows trapping. A TNR'ed cat is never abandoned as he/she was never owned or possessed in any meaningful sense.

Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas
Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas. Photo: his office.

Anyway, Texas's legislature has passed a bill, HR 3660, which has cleared up this grey area. The legislation has been signed off by the Governor Greg Abbott. As of the present, the 'R' bit of TNR is no longer considered to be cat abandonment.

Of course, there are opponents to TNR such as the bird lovers. They see TNR programs as promoting the killing of birds. They'd rather the feral and stray cats were trapped and euthanised; removed from the environment. That does not work. Although it works emotionally for the ornithologists who believe that cats kill billions of birds despite there being no hard evidence.

Small studies tell us that cats do kill birds but you can't extrapolate small local studies into nationwide statistics which is what the news media and bird lovers do. The latter has an axe to grind. The former like to exaggerate to sell more copies or attract more viewers.

The Senate passed the bill almost unanimously. The bird lobby were caught out. A prominent bird lover, Sizemore, tried to convince the Governor to veto the bill but he signed it off.

The law was authored by Rep. Cody, a Republican from Angleton. He wanted to clarify the above-mentioned grey area and complication. He correctly (in my view) said:

I don’t think Texans should go to prison because they do a TNR program. And I don’t think that that’s animal abandonment under the statute
It looks to me as if HR 3660 was an amendment to existing law. It is a good adjustment. You can't criminalise the good people who are sensitive to animal sentience who want to improve the lives of cats who've been put into the urban wild by careless humans. It is clearly wrong. TNR volunteers do good work, freely. They do it to improve animal welfare in Texas and America generally. They contribute to American society.

This is a positive. It is the opposite to criminal behavior and to have interpreted the previous law that way was absurd. The matter has been cleared up.

Source: various Texas newspapers including the My San Antonio.

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