Monday 1 July 2024

To save birds should we kill off cats (National Geographic)?

A National Geographic author, Noah Strycker, titled their recent article: "To save birds should we kill off cats?"

What kind of title is that? I don't think you could write a more absurd title about domestic and stray cats than that. I guess you know what the article is about; it's about the predation of birds by domestic, stray and feral cats all over the world. This topic comes up all the time. And my response comes up all the time because what they say annoys me.

They rely on numerous studies about cat predation on wildlife and they come to the general conclusion that domestic cats and stray cats kill billions of wild animals including precious birds which are more precious to humans than mice (speciesism).

But the studies are in quite small areas and you can't conclusively decide that bird populations are under threat or that anyone bird species is currently under threat of being made extinct by domestic and stray cat predation. The studies don't conclude that. In fact, in the UK, the RSPB, some time ago, said that there was no evidence that bird species where under general threat of extinction by cat predation.

We don't like to see it cats killing birds. It is an aspect of domestic cat ownership which is unwanted. We wish that all domestic cats were cuddly, furry non-predator creatures who kept us company and never had any desire to kill but unfortunately they are top predators and we domesticated them with their approval.

They are our responsibility. We created all the feral cats on the planet. We created all of stray cats on the planet. As mentioned we domesticated the cat. We are responsible and if we don't like the fact that they kill birds then we don't just kill all cats to resolve that problem we look to ourselves to resolve it humanely and responsibly.

And on that topic, you will find one very firm conclusion about the loss of bird species and the overall threat to wildlife in general. It all comes from humans. Human activity. Global warming caused by human activity. The building of human settlements destroying habitat.

There are no studies which compare the number of birds indirectly or directly killed by humans and the number of birds indirectly or directly killed by cats. But if there was such a study I would like to propose that humans kill far more birds than cats. Most of it indirectly but sometimes directly like building tall buildings into which migrating birds fly and die en masse.

But even if you go to the studies which conclude that a particular bird species on an island somewhere has been made extinct by domestic cats turned feral, you have to go to the human and their behaviour to find blame. These people imported domestic cats to an island and set them free where they procreated and became feral. But for that they would have been no predation of birds on those islands.

All invasive species including the feral cat, for example, in Australia, have been created through human activity. Humans create invasive species because they transport them from one continent to another. From one country to another.

How do you think hippopotamuses arrived in South America and started to procreate? Because a drug baron in that country decided to import hippopotamuses into his private zoo. When this drug baron was captured and put into prison for life, the zoo was abandoned and the hippopotamuses were freed and procreated. South America now has a very peculiar invasive species: hippopotamuses. Point made. Humans have created invasive species because humans are the only animal that can travel so widely and freely across oceans and bring other species with them either deliberately or accidentally.

So to blame the cat for devastating bird predation is incorrect anyway and it is a distortion of the truth to imply that cats kill birds and humans don't. If we are to kill any predator to protect birds it should be the top predator on the planet: the human. That would be equally absurd. Nobody is proposing that we kill humans to protect birds.

What we should be proposing is that human behaviour should be altered to protect wildlife in general including birds. At present there is no attempt whatsoever to do this at scale. There will be small projects in various countries but the general trend or tenor of human activity is to destroy nature and therefore animals that live within nature and that will go on for the indefinite future.

So this article on the respected online magazine National Geographic is idiotic and the headline is click bait. That's why I am addressing it. It needs to be counteracted with a counterargument. What's your argument?

You may know, incidentally, that in Australia they do think and believe that they can exterminate all feral cats by shooting them or poisoning them! So on that continent they actually agree with this National Geographic journalist. They think it's feasible to wipe out the feral cat population in Australia. However, they don't know how many feral cats there are. They don't know exactly where they all are. In killing feral cats with poison they kill other animals. Their task is impossible. As they don't know how many feral cats there are they can't assess how many birds are killed by cats. They say they can but they can't. More idiotic behaviour in my opinion. And it's cruel and inhumane. It's entirely wrong. Because, as mentioned, it totally ignores the origin of the feral cat problem: people.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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