South Africans, Supported by Ailurophobic PETA, Are Slaughtering More Cats on Robben Island
South African officials are once again slaughtering feral cats on Robben Island. Last year veteran cat mass murderer Jon Kieser gunned down fifty-eight defenseless felines on the island which served as Nelson Mandela's gulag for twenty-seven years (See photo of prison below). Now, Kieser and his backers are lobbying hard for permission to shoot down the remaining sixty or so cats.
The cat eradication program is being spearheaded by a potpourri of ailurophobes led by the Robben Island Museum, which manages the island, the SPCA, Marine and Coastal Management, UNESCO and, as one would expect, Les Underhill of the University of Cape Town's avian demography unit. Underhill and his fellow fascist bird-lovers argue that the cats are raiding the nests of African black oystercatchers, terns, and African penguins and therefore must be exterminated. For its part, the museum is worried that UNESCO will strip the island of its World Heritage Site designation and this could cost it vast amounts of money.
Allan Perrins of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA is a hypocritical buffoon. On March 14th he told the Cape Argus, "We specifically want an assurance that if shooting is deemed to be the only effective means of removing the cats from the island, that it will be done humanely, professionally and under our supervision." (See "SPCA to Inspect Robben Island's Cat Culling.")
That is an amazing statement for an official of the SPCA to make! First of all, what is humane about gunning down cats? Perrins' comments are on a par with those expressed by Kieser in the Cape Argus on March 10th when he said, "I know some people are concerned about cruelty (involved in shooting) but it's not at all --it's very quick." (See "Shooting of Robben Island Cats Set to Resume.") It is a sad day when foxes are put in charge of guarding the henhouse.
When it comes to slaughtering cats, Kieser is an old hand. About twenty years ago he helped the Department of Environmental Affairs to exterminate 3,405 cats on South Africa's Marion Island. Marion is a sub-antarctic island located in the Indian Ocean 1,770 kilometers southeast of Port Elizabeth; it is pretty much uninhabited except for a weather station and a bird research unit. In 1949, the South Africans imported five cats in order to keep the rodent population in check and by 1977 that number had multiplied to 3,405. In order to rid the island of the cats, the diabolical South Africans infected some of them with the deadly feline panleucopenia virus (distemper) which within five years had reduced their ranks to six-hundred-fifteen. Since this deadly virus causes fever, depression, weight loss, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, and severe stomach pain, all of the felines succumbed to agonizingly slow deaths.
Despite all of this bloodletting, the South Africans demanded that still more felines be exterminated and between 1986-1988 they authorized Kieser and fifteen other men with shotguns and battery-powered flashlights to gun down another 803 cats under the cover of darkness. In 1991, only eight cats were caught during a year-long trapping effort and today there are no known felines living on the island. Quite naturally, Kieser still longs for the thrill of the hunt and, of course, the extra blood money that exterminating the remaining cats on Robben will put in his pockets. If he were not such an inveterate coward he would go to Iraq and fight. Al-Qaeda and the anti-imperialist forces freedom fighting there would be glad to give him some action.
The lust for feline blood is so pervasive in South Africa that the killing of cats has become something of a national pastime. For instance, in the March 10th edition of the Cape Argus cited supra, morally bankrupt reporter John Yeld praised the cat eradication project on Marion as "the largest and most successful island conservation project of its kind."
Apparently the only legitimate animal protection entity in South Africa is Beauty Without Cruelty which has been trapping cats on Robben Island and relocating them to a sanctuary in Hout Bay on the mainland. The group's humane activities have, however, met with resistance from the cat-killers and so far only about a dozen felines have been trapped and relocated.
Speaking of the cats already resettled, spokesperson Beryl Scott told the Cape Argus in the March 14th article cited supra, "Our cats are all getting on very well. There are no problems -- they're as fit as fiddles."
For the time being the cat extermination plan has been put on hold while two inspectors from the disreputable SPCA can review the situation on Robben but the slaughter is expected to resume by the end of the month. In fact, Scott believes that it is still going on and that a number of cats have been shot during the past four months.
Also on the bloodthirsty South Africans' hit list are about one-hundred-twenty deer. As is the case with the cats, some officials are calling for them to be shot while others want them trapped and united with other herds on the mainland. The predominance of opinion seems to favor mass slaughter primarily because officials are too cheap and lazy to relocate the herd. (See Cape Argus, March 15, 2006, "CapeNature, SPCA Lock Horns About Fallow Deer.") Invasive plants, such as Australian acacias, are also being uprooted from the circular, one-kilometer-wide island just off the South African coast from Cape Town (See photo at top of page).
When Dutch colonialists first arrived four-hundred-years ago, the only large animals on the island were birds and seals (die Robbe means seal in Deutsch). During the 1960s deer were brought to the island for prison officials and politicians from the mainland to hunt. It is not known when cats were first brought to the island but it is likely that they were introduced fairly early on in order to protect food supplies from rodents. Now that both the cats and deer are no longer needed South African officials are exterminating them while hiding behind the subterfuge of protecting native species.
The same bloodthirsty ingratitude that the South Africans are showing their cats and deer is also vividly on display half a world away in Australia where officials have launched a massive extermination campaign to eliminate 500,000 camels, 300,000 horses, five million donkeys, 23 million pigs, plus countless millions of cane toads, red foxes, goats, and cats. This unprecedented mass slaughter is being carried out through mass poisonings and machine gun assaults from helicopters. (See Cat Defender post of October 20, 2005 entitled "After Ridding the Ohio Statehouse of Rats, Cats Now Find Themselves Facing Eviction.")
If the cats on Robben Island are raiding the nests of native birds this is man's fault, not the cats. No one feeds or takes care of them so they are forced to fend for themselves. If the Dutch colonialists were so concerned about native birds why did they turn the cats loose in the first place? More to the point, why did it take them so long to become concerned about birds?
First of all, some of the ailurophobes in South Africa are sans doute motivated by a love of the money that tourists pump into Robben's economy. The second reason is a good deal more sinister. Cat-hating fascists like Underhill have recently gained a foothold in academic circles and in so-called animal protection leagues where they are able to promote their feline extermination schemes with impunity. In America, Underhill's cohorts at the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the National Audubon Society, National Wildlife, National Geographic, Pat Conrad of UC-Davis, and PETA, have all repeatedly called for the roundup and extermination of all feral cats.
The holier-than-thou attitude of bird advocates is totally unjustified in light of the petit fait that birds are far from being model citizens of this planet. They spread deadly diseases (Vogelgrippe, the West Nile Virus, etc.), foul streams and fields with huge amounts of excrement, destroy crops, ignite forest fires (southern California and Washington State during the summer of 2004, inter alia), and kill large quantities of insects and small mammals. Owls, eagles, and hawks even prey upon cats and kittens. Based upon the twisted logic put forward by bird-lovers, both cat-lovers and entomologists would be totally justified in demanding that all birds be rounded up and exterminated.
PETA, in particular, could not resist putting in its two cents' worth in favor of the Robben Island cat extermination project. Whenever there are cats to be slaughtered, all the ailurophobes at PETA immediately crawl out of the woodwork and demand to be included in the carnage. In a March 14th letter to the editor of the Cape Argus, PETA's Lindsay Pollard-Post wrote that "euthanasia is the most humane option" for feral cats. A little further along in her immoral, nonsensical spiel she recommended that unwanted cats be given up to shelters where they will have a "chance at finding a loving home."
As Pollard-Post knows only too well, that is an outright lie. Almost one-hundred per cent of all feral cats trapped and brought to shelters are immediately exterminated; none of them are put up for adoption. More importantly, PETA is itself in love with killing defenseless animals. For instance, it exterminates more than eighty-six per cent of the cats and dogs that it takes in at its Norfolk, Virginia shelter. On one of its web sites (www.helpinganimals.com) it defines euthanasia as "a kindness, often the only kindness ever known for animals who are born into a world that doesn't want them, has not cared for them, and ultimately has abandoned them to be disposed of as 'surplus' beings."
PETA is comprised of a clique of morally-warped egomaniacs who believe that they alone have the right to decide what animals are allowed to live and under what circumstances. If they were ever to train their sights on the human race they would quickly establish themselves as the worst genocidal monsters that this world has ever produced.
In conclusion, the cats on Robben Island have just as much of a right to go on living and multiplying as do the birds and other animals, man included, living there. Under no circumstances should they be harmed in any way. If Underhill and his ailurophobic buddies are so concerned about birds they should fence off their nesting areas and stand guard over them twenty-four hours a day, shooing away any cats who might dare to venture near. More importantly, this would give him and his gang something to do with themselves and perhaps sweat out some of the hatred that they carry around inside themselves.
South Africa has only recently emerged from centuries of colonial barbarism but many problems remain. Wholesale poverty and inequality still exist, crime is rampant, and AIDS is decimating the population. Wildlife is threatened by both human predation and shrinking habitats. Cruelty to cats is rampant not only on Robben but all across the country. In May of last year students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) outside Durban roasted a domestic cat in a microwave oven in a college dormitory and laughed about it. (See Cat Defender post of September 22, 2005 entitled "College Students in South Africa Cook a Cat to Death in a Microwave Oven.")
Shooting cats on Robben is no less barbaric. There is no such thing as a humane killing regardless of whether the victim is a cat or a human. It is time for officials in South Africa to join the twenty-first century and do the morally correct thing and spare the lives of the Robben Island cats.
Photos: Wikipedia (Robben Island) and Think Quest (prison).