Kansas City Vets Break Ranks with AVMA to Defend Cats Against Bird Advocates, Wildlife Proponents, and Exterminators
Two remarkable events occurred last week in Kansas City. First of all, five prominent area veterinarians not only came forward and rebutted the persistent avalanche of lies spread by bird advocates, wildlife proponents, and ailurophobes, but they also had the courage to break ranks with the cat-hating American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Secondly, although anti-cat screeds from the bird lobby are the norm within the capitalist media, in this instance a major American newspaper actually published an article defending feral cats (See photo above).
Although the national media and most state and federal politicians have chosen to ignore the issue, the debate over feral cats has been raging in thousands of cities across the land for quite a number of years. So far, cat-haters have pretty much had things their way. They have slandered and libeled cats with impunity year after year while cat advocates have been hard pressed to find a media outlet willing to allow them to get in a word edgewise.
The debate in Kansas City was ignited by an April 22nd article in The Kansas City Star which provided a venue for every ailurophobe and his brother to attack cats. (See "Metro Area Struggles with Feral Cats.") First of all, Michael Hutchins of the Wildlife Society was brought in from Washington to declare that all feral cats should be killed. This position was, quite naturally, endorsed by Mike Schumacher of the Kansas City Animal Shelter. Ted Coles, president of the Kansas City Veterinary Medical Association, was also allotted space to promote the AVMA's often repeated mantra that feral cats should either be exterminated or imprisoned in large enclosures.
Normally, that is all the public ever hears from the capitalist media: one side of the story. In a rare victory for cat-lovers, veterinarians Sheila Dodson (See photo below) of Merriam, Cindy Risen of Overland Park, Dan Hecker of Kansas City, and J.C. Burcham and Michelle Chappell of Olathe penned a response to the cat-haters and, more miraculously, The Kansas City Star actually printed it on May 8th (See "The Best Option for Feral Cats.")
Wading headlong into the fray, lead author Dodson made short shrift of the charge that cats are a major threat to birds by citing no less of an authority than the National Audubon Society. According to that group's literature, development, destruction of forests and wetlands, climate change, pollution, pesticides, collisions with buildings and communications towers, and wind farms are the major sources of avian mortality. Also, lawn pesticides kill an astonishing seven million birds each year! If bird advocates were anything other than total frauds they would be working to curb development, consumerism, and pollution instead of trying to kill cats.
Despite Hutchins' lies, cats are not among the top ten threats to wildlife. Since however bird advocates have been so successful in demonizing cats, wildlife proponents are now jumping on the anti-cat bandwagon. Attacking cats not only allows both groups to avoid confronting the real issues that are destroying Mother Earth and the animals, but their demagoguery also serves to keep cat-haters in a perpetual lather and thus willing to fork over another donation.
From that stellar beginning, Dodson then proceeded to refute the claim that feral cats are unhealthy disease-carriers. Au contraire, a high percentage of the thousands of wild cats that she and her colleagues have desexed at No More Homeless Pets Kansas City appear to be healthy. More importantly and contrary to the arguments advanced by the disreputable Coles, the quintet has found no greater incidence of either feline leukemia or FIV in feral cats than in domesticated felines. Furthermore, feral cats are no more likely to transmit these diseases to other cats than are cats that are kept as pets. Regarding the hysteria occasioned by Vogelgrippe, Dodson points out that the World Health Organization (WHO) has not found a solitary case of cats transmitting H5N1 to humans.
Finally, Dodson and her colleagues endorse trap, neuter, and return (TNR) as the only logical method of dealing with homeless cats. In doing so, she dismisses Coles' recommendation that they be rounded up and imprisoned in an enclosure as not only impractical but too costly as well.
By their willingness to stand up to bird and wildlife advocates, shelter workers who exterminate 25,000 cats and dogs in the Kansas City area each year, and the AVMA, the quintet has rendered an invaluable service to cats and their defenders everywhere. They did err, however, in not stressing the immorality of killing cats and other animals. Cats have just as much of a right to life and liberty as do all animals, man included.
Despite the veterinarians' conscientious stand, the cat-haters are not going to go away. In fact, more and more of them are crawling out from under rocks every day. On May 13th, The Kansas City Star undid the good that it had done by publishing Dodson's piece when it printed an article by Paul Klawinski (See photo above) equating cats to rats which should be exterminated. (See "Some Cats also Can Be Pests.") When he is not bashing cats, Klawinski teaches evolution and ecology at William Jewell, a right-wing Christian college in Liberty, MO. His specialty is reptiles, however, and with his shaved head and sunglasses there is most definitely a discernible resemblance.
In addition to Klawinski, the AVMA, shelters, Animal Control, and the Wildlife Society, there are numerous other individuals and groups intent upon eradicating cats, both feral and domestic, from the face of the earth. Chiefly among these groups are the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, and National Wildlife. Saving the cats is going to be a long hard bloody fight, but Dodson's support proves that not everyone has been bamboozled into believing the ailurophobes' lies.
Photos: Missouri Chapter of Best Friends (gray cat) and The Kansas City Star (Dodson and Klawinski).