Tuesday 10 December 2019

Children should be encouraged to explore the natural world in the interests of wildlife conservation

I agree with two children's authors, Sir Michael Morpurgo and Julia Donaldson, when they say that children should be encouraged to explore the natural world on their own and take risks. They should not be crowded out by regulations but exposed to the countryside.

"People tell them to love the planet, but if you don't actually know what the planet is, and love things about it, why would you? You need to get dirty." - Julia Donaldson.



They should get dirty. They should scratch their knees and talk to trees. They need to smell the earth and cut grass. They need to feel the wind in their face. Silently falling rain should please them.

They should listen to the landscape, look up at the sky and admire the clouds. See them scuffling against a blue-grey backdrop and learn how to read the weather.

They should love to watch squirrels and birds feeding. The sound of the fox at night should not disturb them but make them smile. All these things will give them an understanding of nature. Through that understanding they will be more sensitive to the needs of wildlife.

And through their sensitive they will wish to protect wildlife rather than abuse it, use it and trash it as it is so commonplace nowadays.

And when they understand wild species better they will also understand and respect their domestic cat companions. In the domestic cat they have a miniature wild animal in their home. The traits of a wild cat are in the domestic version.

It is a great pleasure to have such a special relationship with our domestic cats. Two completely different species getting on beautifully. One is almost wild and the other is us, full of baggage and contradictions. They are innocently pure. Such a joy to experience it.

Why are domestic cats so small?

Because they are descended from the North African wildcat, a cat of similar proportions and appearance even after about 10,000 years of domestication. I suppose you might ask why was the North African (African-Asian) wildcat domesticated?

Comparison domestic and wildcat ancestor.

It is because the place where they were first domesticated - the Fertile Crescent (in the area of Syria) was suited to farming and it so happened that this wildcat was present in that landscape. The cat and farmer met to mutual benefit and the rest is history as they say. 

The North African wildcat has a relatively nice temperament suited to domestication. They kept the rodents down and the farmer had a working cat and some company and fun. This happened around 9,500-12,000 years ago it is believed.

There are other small wild cats who are also suited to domestication to various extents e.g. the margay, but it just happened that the North African wildcat got their first perhaps because 10,000 years ago the Middle East was a developing and active area for farming. 

Farmers would have encroached onto the wildcat's territory forcing them together. There may have been conflict between human and cat but some farmers liked their presence for their rodent killing habits.

There must have been the very first domestic cat. At that time there was a single domestic cat in the world. Now there are around half a billion domestic and feral cats.

It is worth arguing that the question is incorrectly formulated as what is 'small'? There are smaller animals than the domestic cat and there are larger ones. They are small compared to us. It might be argued that the domestic cat is somewhere in the middle range of animal size. 

Therefore it could also be argued that they are not small. I think perhaps the reason why the question has been formulated is because the questioner is comparing the cat to the size of humans. Therefore relative to humans the domestic cat is small. That is not a good reason to ask, "Why our domestic cat so small?"

Thursday 5 December 2019

Luka Magnotta the babyfaced kitten killer and then a man killer

A page which I wrote some time ago has suddenly gone viral (at 4th and 5th Dec. 2019) and I think it is because Netflix have made a documentary about him and it is going to be aired on television on 18 December 2019.

Please click this link to go to the page I wrote about Magnotta a while ago. It has been regularly updated as more information has been revealed.


Photo: Rex Features.

The man that I am referring to is the Canadian Luka Magnotta. He is a classic psychopath and he is truly infamous. First he killed two kittens and made sure that he was videoed doing it and he uploaded the video to the Internet. It was subsequently deleted but screenshots were made of it.

Then he met up with another gay person who he murdered and dismembered. He sent body parts to politicians and teachers. You can read about it on the page that I have referred to above. It's a classic case to of a psychopath moving from animal cruelty and torture to doing the same thing to people. You could write a textbook about this boy as he was when he kill the kittens but is now a man and a very dangerous one.

As I said, he so infamous that Netflix decided to make a full-blown documentary about him. He has that baby face: a veneer to a truly evil mind.

Monday 2 December 2019

Pennsylvania man who fed cats fish hooks sentenced to jail time

This was perhaps the most notorious cases of cat abuse in 2019. In April it was reported on the internet. A man called Dougie Doug named Kenny Rowles as the person who feed food to stray cats with fish hooks.




The cats took the food and were badly injured. They recovered and Mr Rowles was charged and tried in the criminal court. Elisa, a colleague of mine has reported on the sentence (click this link to read her report). At one time he was thought to be insane. It was an insane act but I don't think he is mad, just sad and bad.


Comment: It takes an evil mind to dream up placing cat treats on fish hooks and feeding it to stray cats. It takes a particular sort of personality disorder to do it. You can't be normal. It is good to see Rowles successfully prosecuted and punished. You might think that it is entirely normal to punish this madman. But it isn't because most cat abusers are never caught and therefore never punished and when caught their punishment is often not severe enough for the millions of animal advocates who fight for animal welfare.

Australia


It is a bizarre world to me, a mad world actually because in Australia the government has spend probably hundreds of thousands of Australian dollars to dream up ways of poisoning feral cats with 1080 - sodium fluoroacetate.



In doing so they are committing a crime as bad as that of Kenny Rowles but no one is being prosecuted. It is entirely legal. It is state sponsored cat cruelty. How do we reconcile Rowles' actions and society's reaction to his crime to that of the Aussie government?



Saturday 30 November 2019

Woman sues Albuquerque mayor over TNR program

Marcy Britton has started a claim in the courts for monetary compensation for, among other things, losses to the value of her house because those estimated losses have been caused by the numbers of feral cats around or near her house. She claims that the city of Albuquerque is responsible (through the Director of Animal Welfare Department and the Mayor) and has in effect taken her home but failed to pay for it. It is called inverse condemnation in the American judicial system.


It’s disgusting. I mean you come home from work and there are cats on your porch. They get hit by cars. They get poisoned. This is where I live. My property value has been reduced…
The claim is doomed to complete failure. I guess she is peeved and wants to make an expensive statement. She has certainly got some press coverage.

It’s a gruesome, inhumane, illegal, thing to do to any animal…....

She hates TNR, sees it as inhumane and a failure. She regards the presence of feral cats around her home as disgusting and above all, I sense, she is very angry at the devaluing of her house. But she is speculating that her house is worth less as far as I can tell unless she has got an expert's report to support that claim and even that won't carry much weight.

The mayor of Albuquerque is being sued by Marcy. He is Tim Keller, aka the city's chief executive.

The city says that TNR is working in reducing the feral cat population as it does. The city supports TNR and it is the only humane way to manage feral cats. That is the exact opposite viewpoint to Marcy's.

There are however quite a lot of people who don't like TNR and who'd prefer the cats were trapped and killed. Marcy wants that outcome although she suggests some of the cats can be adopted through animal shelters.

I think it is unique to sue a government for running TNR programs or for supporting them or for failing to stop them. I have not seen the entire court claim.

This is just one more battle over TNR. It happens in many US cities all the time. Americans who are interested in feral cats can be divided into 2 groups. Those that support TNR and its humane but slow management of feral cat colonies and reduction in numbers and those that want to essentially trap and euthanise (actually more accurately described as kill).

Source: Various news websites.

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