Killing Stray Cats With Tylenol Is "Humane," Audubon Writer Says

Categories: Crime
cat_strut.jpg
Everybody has that neighbor (OK, some of you are that neighbor) whose heart bleeds for all the stray cats in the hood. Cat Lady or Cat Dude leaves paper bowls full of Meow Mix all over the sidewalks, and the scraggly, fiercely independent kitties go tomcatting all over town.

You might think your local Cat Lady is really sweet or maybe eccentric. But you know who really hates the Cat Lady? Bird lovers.

Nationwide, a massive fight is under way between cat lovers and bird lovers (who say wild cats are nonnatural predators threatening bird species and other critters). The battle has become especially heated in Florida, where pending legislation could affect the way feral cat colonies are managed. This month, the issue caused problems at two recognizable publications after an Audubon writer wrote a shocking op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel.

Colonies of feral cats thrive all over the world -- under the 17th Street bridge in Fort Lauderdale or in stately Palm Beach -- and this creates problems for municipalities that must decide how to deal with them.

Cat lovers generally support a policy of "TNR" -- Trap, Neuter, and Release. It calls for cats to be captured, taken to a vet, implanted with a chip, neutered, then freed. Theoretically, this lets the current generation of wild cats roam free but ensures they can't produce heirs.

But the cat-loving crowd took a hit in January when a report was released, based on the work of scientists at the Smithsonian and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The report said that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion birds and 6.9 billion to 20.7 billion mammals every year.

Cat lovers decried this report as fear-mongering, anti-cat PR, but in Florida, the report could influence a piece of legislation that's kicking around Tallahassee. This year, Florida House Bill 1121, also known as the "Community Cat Act" was written by an attorney with Best Friends Animal Society and introduced in the House. It would establish that community cat programs that practice TNR would not be guilty of abandonment or unlawful release. The bill is supported by the Humane Society but opposed by the Florida Veterinary Medical Association. Last week, it passed the agriculture committee in the House by a 14-0 vote. A companion bill has been filed in the Senate.

On March 14, an Audubon writer and accomplished environmental journalist named Ted Williams contributed a column in the Orlando Sentinel describing TNR as a "dangerous, cruel, and illegal practice." He said that "In Florida, where rabid cats attack people," most wild cats have a feline form of AIDS. Feral cats infect Florida panthers with feline leukemia, he wrote, and they kill migratory birds and endangered species including lower Keys marsh rabbits and silver rice rats.

Then he wrote that there are "two effective, humane alternatives to the cat hell of TNR. One is Tylenol (the human pain medication) -- a completely selective feral-cat poison. But the TNR lobby has blocked its registration for this use. The other is trap and euthanize. TE is practiced by state and federal wildlife managers; but municipal TE needs to happen if the annihilation of native wildlife is to be significantly slowed."

After cat lovers of course called for Williams' head (and also pointed out that Orlando Sentinel editors were dumb to have let this tacit endorsement of cat murdering slide), Audubon initially announced that it had "suspended its contract" with Williams.

But in a blog post Tuesday, the CEO of the National Audubon Society wrote that Williams would stay on with the magazine. David Yarnold wrote that although Williams' op-ed "raised serious questions of judgment" and Audubon "absolutely reject[s] the notion of individuals poisoning cats or treating cats in any inhumane way," they forgave the writer.

Yarnold linked to Audubon's official resolution on feral cats, which describes the felines as "exceptional and prolific predators" and asserts that TNR does not reduce feral cat colonies. The resolution calls for governments to regulate feral cats and recommends neutering -- but not euthanasia.

In the meantime, the online version of Williams' article on the Orlando Sentinel has been toned down to omit the bit about Tylenol. Williams added a disclaimer at the top, saying:
"I reported that a common over-the-counter drug, an effective and selective poison for feral cats, had not been registered for this use because of pressure from feral-cat advocacy groups. While the statement was not inaccurate, it was unwise because readers might construe it as a suggestion to go out and start poisoning feral cats. What's more, the statement could be, indeed was, manipulated by feral-cat advocates into something I didn't write or intend. I should have used the generic, lesser-known name. Further, I should have explained that this feral-cat poison, if registered, would be applied only by the state and federal wildlife managers who are widely, legally and lethally (but not effectively) controlling feral cats with rifle, shotgun and trap. I urge people not to take the law into their own hands. They should leave it to professionals.
Lastly, he clarified that his position as "editor-at-large" of Audubon magazine, which he had used in his original piece, was "a freelance, not salaried, title. I regret this slovenliness."

straycat.jpg



Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
38 comments
chienfui
chienfui

Cat lovers are hypocrites, they would feed a hungry cat but not a hungry dog. Cats are as cunning as their owner.


Don't ever blame neighbors poison your cat if you can't even keep your cat from roaming around. Nobody likes their garden filled with smelly poops.

admin
admin

I didnt realize the pro-animal cruelty crowd was such a big part of the New Times' Online readership. Learn something new everyday, I guess.

ashlloyd87
ashlloyd87

please kill these dirty scumy creature's and the people that own them. they are going to wipe out other specics soon. this needs to be stopped before its to late. 

to all the bunny/cat huggers out there , wake up! if there was feral dogs running around you lot would be the first to say put them to sleep.

you people disgust me. 

i live above a cat man, the smell has gotten that bad i can smell cat feces as soon as i open my front door. they are digusting creatures that carry all sorts of nasty things, and due to the above should be eradicated or keep in zoo's only.

growly
growly

After suffering for the first time with a feral cat problem in my new home I have to say I favor the kill approach. Neuter and return is fine for many I'm sure, but not for me. I wear leather and eat steak, I don't have a problem with a few cats dying.

rangeriderx
rangeriderx

Maybe you should have yourself neutered. You seem to be a parasite yourself, Porchrat.

Porchrat
Porchrat

We could start eating cats at restaurants and that would cut down on there population. Ask the French, They are best at cooking cat. A great French recipe would decimate the stray cat population.

Matter of fact, it might start a trend of cat breeders, Known as gourmet cat breeders.

Porchrat
Porchrat

Cats are nothing more than parasitic predatory serial killers

Porchrat
Porchrat

Cats are nothing more than parasitic predatory serial killers.

I should know, I own a cat, I've had cats for 20 years.

If you let your cat outside they will revert to their primal state, they will kill and they will kill without eating because there store bought food is the only food that they like. Killing small creatures is a part of their training and they are constantly training because they never know when they maybe thrown out and left on there own.

Porchrat
Porchrat

Cats are nothing more than parasitic predatory serial killers.

I should know, I own a cat, I've had cats for 20 years.

If you let your cat outside they will revert to their primal state, they will kill and they will kill without eating because there store bought food is the only food that they like. Killing small creatures is a part of their training and they are constantly training because they never know when they maybe thrown out and left on there own.

Porchrat
Porchrat

Cats are nothing more than parasitic predatory serial killers.

I should know, I own a cat, I've had cats for 20 years.

If you let your cat outside they will revert to their primal state, they will kill and they will kill without eating because there store bought food is the only food that they like. Killing small creatures is a part of their training and they are constantly training because they never know when they maybe thrown out and left on there own.

cynthia103
cynthia103

What about all the scum bags out there, they should worry about that, not cats!!

Adam
Adam

Killing cats results in more cats. The population isn't limited by their ability to reproduce, but by available resources. So eliminating one cat colony will result in another popping up. 


Trap/neuter/release, which is what this idiot is arguing against, results in less cats. Neutered cats don't reproduce, but they still consume resources. This results in the population remaining relatively constant, although the program needs to be maintained to neuter the newcomers. If not, the neutered cats eventually die out and the population climbs. 


Another advantage is that neutered cats are generally better tempered, and don't piss on everything. 

gjeff166
gjeff166

yep. Kill all the cats. Let's here it for the Bubonic Plague.....

rrlevy272
rrlevy272

I dunno... Seems like a shmuck to me. At any rate, feral cats are actually pretty important to our closely-quartered ecosystem here in South Florida. I've known people that own apartment complexes to actually go and find feral cats to incorporate into the complex to help reduce the rodent and insect population. 

246tcl
246tcl

The only species of animal that has completely infested the planet with disease and overpopulation are human beings. And humans kill billions of other animals to feed on, but that's ok, but god forbid that a cat eats a bird. Cats can't hold a candle to the all the disease, death and destruction that the human race is responsible for. And you, my friend, are a perfect example of too much human inbreeding. Ignored, dull witted, self absorbed and stupid. Not much more than a human stain really.

nomore
nomore

I don't have a problem with a few people dying!! You would be at the top of the list!

Porchrat
Porchrat

Cynthia103, You need to stay on target girl, you have been sniffing too much cat poop, cat poop clouds the brain.

Porchrat
Porchrat

Much like the squirrel population, kill one squirrel and you'll see 13 more.

Porchrat
Porchrat

If you look at those people who would do something like that most of them look pretty stupid just look at them closely.

Porchrat
Porchrat

What is wrong with what I am saying, is it not true cats are parasitic predatory's Serial killers, they will kill with Impunity. Feral cats will kill just to feed, But home grown cats, cats that are leaving in your home and are going in and out of your home, they kill just to train, and if you look at them while they are killing this poor little creature it looks like they are having fun, It is their nature. It is also a waste because they will not eat that little creature.

gjeff166
gjeff166

it must be tough to go through life so stupid that you can't recognize sarcasm... remove the buttplug from your colon, and get a life...

theshedsmith.cs
theshedsmith.cs

@Porchrat 

YANKS!! its not the cats fault, its the owners eradicate them as well. So you lot would rather have cat crap every where and no wildlife. Just make sure you kill them quickly, unlike a cat which like to torture its prey, Yeah they kill for sport,    

cynthia103
cynthia103

@Porchrat so how does that justify killing of cats. To hunt is a cats natural  born instinct.

gjeff166
gjeff166

If there is one thing in this world that I am certain of, it's that you recognize idiots...

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...