"...His (man's) chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species..."
-- Ambrose Bierce
The cat-hating miscreants that run the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the United States Navy announced earlier this month that they have unilaterally decided to massacre about two-hundred cats on San Nicolas Island off the coast of Los Angeles. (See photo above.)
The killers first will attempt to lure the defenseless felines into leghold traps where they will be subsequently dispatched to the devil with gunshots to the head. Those cats that are too wily in order to fall for that ploy will be hunted down at night like convicted felons on the lam by marksmen equipped with powerful battery-powered flashlights and specially-trained bloodhounds.
Acting upon the advice of seasoned cat-killers from Australia, the assassins will be armed with twelve-gauge shotguns, .223-caliber rifles, and .380-caliber pistols. This mass slaughter, which could commence almost any day now, is expected to be completed within a year.
Treated as scum during their all-too-brief sojourns upon this earth, the felines will find neither peace nor dignity in death. Some of their bullet-riddled corpses will be handed over to the Navy for disposal, most likely through incineration, while the remainder will be presented to wildlife biologists as prized trophies to be dissected.
Those inveterate liars and intellectual frauds then will painstakingly catalog every morsel of avian and reptilian flesh found in any of the dead cats' stomachs. The data collected in turn will serve as the basis for an outpouring of bogus research aimed at legitimizing the killings. It goes without saying that none of the cats will be given anything remotely resembling Christian burials.
The wildlife biologists' maniacal hatred of cats is nowhere more evident than in their steadfast unwillingness to consider any humane alternatives. Although they have produced no credible evidence that the cats' presence is having a deleterious effect upon other species, they have rejected not only pleas to allow them to stay but the use of both humane traps and contraceptives.
They likewise are violently opposed to both TNR and relocating the cats off island. In their twisted and demented gourds, the only good cat is a dead one.
The only concession that they have made is a pledge to consider sparing some of the kittens. Given their perverse agenda, that is is about as likely to happen as bumping into Frosty the Snowman in Hell.
San Nicolas is a relatively little known member of California's eight Channel Islands. (See map below.)
Measuring nine miles in length and three and one-half miles wide, it has very little vegetation, an arid climate, and is prone to high winds and erosion. Its one claim to fame is that it served as the setting for Scott O'Dell's 1960 best-selling children's novel entitled Island of the Blue Dolphins
and its 1975 sequel, Zia. (See photo below.)
There was also a movie of the same title that came out in 1964.
Other than that, San Nicolas's history has been forged upon the crucible of murder and mayhem. O'Dell's tome
recounts the 1835 slaughter of a majority of the Nicolenos at the hands of Russians and Aleutians and the removal of the survivors to the mainland by Spanish missionaries. The island's sheep were extirpated in 1943 and the wild dogs so vividly described by O'Dell were gotten rid of somewhere along the way.
Henceforth, it will be the morally reprehensible slaughter of the island's two-hundred abandoned cats by the USFWS and the Navy that San Nicolas will be best remembered.
Since 1933 it has been owned and occupied exclusively by the Navy which maintains missile and aircraft launch facilities as well as a radar tracking unit. (See photo below.)
Water wells and pipelines, a desalination plant, a sewerage system, roads, telecommunications facilities, and numerous buildings also dot and crisscross the island. Approximately two-hundred sailors are stationed on the island which is closed to the public.
The historical record is not exactly clear, but cats have been living on the island for approximately the last one-hundred-fifty years if indeed not longer. It is believed that they were first transported to the island during the 1800s by ranchers and fishermen in order to serve as mousers and companions. The cats currently residing on the island are sans doute
descendants of those brought in by the very buggers now plotting their eradication, i.e.,
the sailing boys.
Instead of caring for them in a halfway responsible manner, the Navy used and abused them and then abandoned them to their own devices. The cats should have been provided with shelter, food, water, veterinary care and, if necessary, sterilizations.
What they have received instead from the ingrates have been intermittent extermination campaigns stretching back to the 1980s. Being cowards as well as killers of small animals, the Navy is afraid to inform the public as to either the exact number of cats it already has killed or the methods employed during these killing sprees.
This time around the Navy, ably assisted by the USFWS and its sister agencies, is intent upon making a tabula rasa
of San Nicolas's cats just like it and the other branches of the military are doing with felines on all American bases both at home and abroad. (See Cat Defender posts of June 16, 2008 and November 14, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Targeted for Elimination by the American War Machine and Cheney's Henchmen, Baghdad's Cats Are Befriended by an English Mercenary" and "Military Killing Cats and Dogs by the Tens of Thousands as Imperialistic America Attempts to Conquer the World.")
This extirpation has been made possible, oddly enough, by the environmental crimes committed by Montrose Chemicals of Torrance. Between 1945 and 1982, it dumped tens of thousands of tons of Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) into the waters off the California coast.
These deadly pollutants contaminated worms and other microorganisms that fish feed upon who in turn poisoned the birds and mammals that prey upon them. In particular, DDT contamination decimated the population of bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
and led to a decline in Brandt's Cormorants (Phalacrocorax penicillatus).
This prompted the United States Government and the state of California to instigate legal proceedings against Montrose. The lawsuit was settled in 2002 when Montrose and three smaller concerns agreed to fork over $73 million in damages. Combined with prior settlements, the United States Government pocketed a grand total of $140 million from these proceedings.
This led to the establishment of a six-headed cat-hating monster known as the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP). Comprised of the USFWS, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), California Department of Fish and Game, California State Lands Commission, and the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the organization immediately staked out an ambitious agenda that included rehabilitating fish stocks and habitats as well as restoring bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and seabirds to their past glory.
The piece de resistence
of MSRP's agenda is the killing of all of San Nicolas's cats. Cats already have been extirpated on San Miguel, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara, and there can be little doubt that if MSRP succeeds in killing off San Nicolas's cats that those on Santa Catalina and Dick Nixon's old haunt of San Clemente will be next.
The logic underpinning this diabolical plan is, to say the least, mind-boggling: since Montrose's actions killed birds and marine life, ergo
the cats must die. Any freshman philosophy student resorting to such a reductio ad absurdum
would not only be given a big fat "F" in Logic 101
but laughed off campus as well.
Nonetheless, this the golden opportunity that the wildlife biologists who comprise MSRP have been salivating over for so long and now they have $1,854,100 of the people's money at their disposal in order to temporarily slake their incurable thirst for feline blood. In point of fact, the entire project is predicated upon a tissue of lies beginning with the "Environmental Assessment for the Restoration of San Nicolas Island's Seabirds and Protection of Other Native Fauna by Eradicating Feral Cats (EA)."
Commissioned by the USFWS and the Navy, the report was prepared by a group of fellow cat-hating wildlife biologists who do business under the imprimatur of H.T. Harvey and Associates of Fresno. This was without question another no-bid federal contract doled out to a known think tank that could be depended upon to produce a document that not only could be used to smear cats, but to justify their murders as well.
In that respect, authors Brian B. Boroski, Jeff N. Davis, Scott B. Terrill, and David G. Duke performed remarkably well. Not a single cat advocacy group was contacted for input and from start to finish their long-winded, hate-filled spiel does not contain a kind syllable about cats.
In fact, cats are treated throughout as either vermin or inanimate objects that do not have any right to exist anywhere under any circumstances. They are dealt with in the same cavalier fashion that practitioners of genocide down through the ages have spoken about the groups that they have hated and attempted to obliterate from the face of the earth.
Even more revealing, the EA provides a rare glimpse into how dishonest and diseased minds function and the exorbitant lengths that they are prepared to go in order to achieve their objectives. The day will come when it will live in infamy alongside such other notable outrages as Roger Taney's 1857 decision in Dred Scott v Sandford
and Hugo Black's miserable effort in 1944 in Korematsu v United States.
The document also reveals the writers' utter contempt for America's more than sixty-million cat owners as well as for the more than eighty per cent
of respondents who recently told Alley Cat Allies (ACA) that they are categorically opposed to the killing of feral cats.
This is another classic example of a group of governmental agencies that have become fat and tyrannical while feeding at the public trough. In short, Americans are paying these glorified welfare bums and freeloaders to act against their best interests, morals, and sentiments.
Not only were all cat advocacy groups completely excluded from the decision making process but MSRP has pretty much succeeded in denying the public the right to even comment on the eradication plan. The USFWS unveiled the EA in a press release on May 19th but the announcement, for whatever reason, was not picked up by any media outlet. (See "Environmental Assessment for San Nicolas Island Seabird Restoration Project Available for Public Review and Comment.")
Moreover, only one public meeting on the EA was scheduled and that was held on June 4th in Ventura.
The vast majority of the public did not learn of the extermination plan until the Ventura County Star
of Camarillo published a one-sided, five-paragraph article about it on June 5th. (See "Feral Cats May Be Eliminated from San Nicolas Island.")
Even that feeble effort read like a press release from MSRP in that only the EA and the USFWS's Jane Hendron were quoted.
Even more outrageously, the USFWS agreed to accept written comments from the public up until only June 17th. It is most likely a moot point in that no amount of public outrage could possibly change the minds of the cat-haters, but it is nonetheless crystal clear that the USFWS has absolutely no use for democracy.
It is therefore understandable that criticism of the plan has been muted. Predictably, both the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and PETA chose to limit their objections to the barbaric nature of the extermination plan.
"This is not humane. I would not say shooting cats or leaving them in leghold traps for up to fourteen hours is humane," Nancy Peterson of HSUS told the Ventura County Star
in a follow-up article published on June 6th. (See "Biologists Want Island Cats Killed.")
"This is proposed by wildlife biologists who are treating cats as wildlife...These are like the domestic pussycats we have at home, but they're living a wild lifestyle."
To its credit, PETA on its website denounced the cruelty involved in both shooting the cats as well as in trapping them in steel-jaw traps. Unfortunately, it soon lapsed back into its old familiar ailurophobic ways by agreeing that it would be permissible to eradicate the cats so long as they were humanely trapped and then killed off by a licensed veterinarian. (See "Urgent: San Nicolas Island's Cats to Be Cruelly Trapped and Killed.")
The entire debate about humanely killing cats is not only disingenuous but irrelevant. No one has the right to kill any cat, feral or domestic, and that includes the United States Government, the State of California, PETA, and HSUS!
Worst still, both HSUS and PETA have fallen into a trap set by MSRP. On page fifty-five of the EA, the authors state that, "This sense of loss (killing cats) may be reduced if the death is considered to be humane."
To maintain that murder ever can be humane is pure sophistry. Besides, the hounding down and shotgunning to death of innocent cats by cat-hating public servants with an agenda all their own can never be considered to be just. As Henry David Thoreau once observed, "Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it."
That is certainly the very antithesis of everything that the USFWS and the Navy represent. They are precisely the mortal enemies of both the animals and man that Ambrose Bierce had in mind when he wrote in his Devil's Dictionary
that man's "chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species..."
ACA limited its response to sending out an e-mail urging those who care about cats to express their opposition to the USFWS before the June 17th deadline. Sometimes these efforts can have an impact, such as in Cape May earlier this year, but most often bureaucrats ignore them and politicians reward complainers with inboxes and mailboxes chock-full of their own unrelated propaganda. As Paul Valery once astutely observed, "La politique, c'est l'art d'empecher les gens de se meler de ce qui les regards."
The biologists dearly wanted to do in the cats by either poisoning them or infecting them with the deadly panleukopenia virus (feline distemper) but were thwarted in their machinations by both legal considerations and concerns about the impact such measures would have on San Nicolas's critically endangered Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis dickeyi).
Of the three poisons commonly used in order to kill cats, sodium monofluoroacetate has been pretty much banned in the United States since 1972 and brodifacoum (rat poison) and N-(3-chloro-4-methylphenyl) acetamide are not approved for use on feral cats.
Panleukopenia was likewise ruled out because of fears that it could be spread to the foxes. This was the method that worked so well for the apartheid
regime in South Africa when it annihilated more than four-thousand cats on Marion Island back during the 1980s.
That horrendous disease attacks the cats' gastrointestinal tracts causing ulcers, diarrhea, dehydration, malnutrition, and anemia. It also obliterates their white blood cells and therefore destroys their immune systems. Symptoms include depression, lethargy, fever, vomiting, and a loss of both appetite and elasticity in the skin. In their agony, many cats commence biting their tails, lower backs, and legs. Their deaths are prolonged and excruciating and pregnant cats give birth to kittens with deformed cerebellums.
Those cats on Marion not felled by the disease were later hunted down at night by bloodhounds and shot by marksmen equipped with shotguns and flashlights. (See Cat Defender post of March 23, 2006 entitled "South Africans, Supported by Ailurophobic PETA, Are Slaughtering More Cats on Robben Island.")
Anytime the United States Government starts taking its cues on how to deal with cats from the South Africans and Australians not only are the cats in big trouble but American society as a whole. Nevertheless, the EA notes with undisguised glee that since 1925 cats have been exterminated on at least sixty-six islands worldwide.
Not only are these egregious crimes against the feline species far greater in scope than all genocidal campaigns combined, but on Macquarie and New Zealand's Little Barrier Island, just to name two, they have backfired with disastrous results. (See Cat Defender post of September 21, 2006 entitled "Aussies' Mass Extermination of Cats Opens the Door for Mice and Rabbits to Wreak Havoc on Macquarie" and Matt Rayner, Mark E. Hauber, Michael J. Imber, Rosalie K. Stamp, and Mick N. Clout, "Spatial Heterogeneity of Mesopredator Release within an Oceanic Island System" in volume 104, number 52 of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 14, 2007.)
In England, the Scottish Wildcat (Felis silvestris grampia)
was almost wiped out by gamekeepers and farmers after it was falsely accused of preying upon game birds. (See Cat Defender post of June 25, 2007 entitled "Scottish Wildcat Born in Captivity May Hold the Key to Saving Critically Endangered Species from Extinction" and Daily Telegraph, February 22, 2008, "Scottish Wildcat Survey to Record Wild Numbers.")
The EA is entirely silent about these colossal faux pas
as well as the gruesome details of the carnage on Marion Island. There can be little doubt that a thorough review of other feline extermination campaigns would uncover additional lies, miscalculations, and abominable crimes committed by wildlife biologists.
These mass slaughters have gone on for far too long; moreover, they have been committed for the most part without the knowledge of the general public. An international panel comprised along the lines of the one established in Nurnberg at the end of World War II urgently needs to be established in order to shine the light of day upon these long-forgotten crimes against cats.
The imperialists, colonialists, militarists, capitalists, and scientists responsible for these despicable crimes must be identified, brought to justice, and punished severely. That is the only way in order to put an end to these outrageous killings. As George Orwell once opined, "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
Even with regard to San Nicolas the authors of the EA have gone to extraordinary lengths in order to not only shade the truth but to simplify the complex relationships that exist between the island's various species. For example, the population of Brandt's Cormorant has not only been affected by DDT, but also by predation from Western Gulls and the Island Fox. Changes in ocean conditions attributed to El Nino
as well as human disturbances caused by boats, planes, missiles, and sailors also have negatively impacted its survival rate.
Meanwhile, oil spills and predation by sea lions and foxes are blamed for a decline in Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis).
Although the biologists argue at great lengths that because cats feed upon deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus exterus)
they are jeopardizing the survival of the Island Fox, that is hardly the case. First of all, it is precisely the Navy that is their biggest enemy. For instance, it has been slaughtering them with impunity on San Clemente allegedly in order to protect the population of Loggerhead Shrikes. (See photo below of Island Fox.)
Naval vehicles run down innumerable foxes on San Nicolas and since they do not have any natural immunity against parasites and diseases brought in from the mainland, they are particularly vulnerable to any that might be brought in by the dogs that are going to be used to hunt down and kill the cats. On Santa Catalina, par exemple
, canine distemper killed ninety per cent
of that island's foxes (Urocyon littoralis catalinae)
in 1998. Even if the dogs are vaccinated beforehand their presence alone will severely stress the fox population.
Furthermore, the number two factor leading to the decline of the Island Fox on Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and San Miguel has been predation by golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos).
DDT poured into the ocean by Montrose led to the demise of bald eagles which in turn precipitated the arrival of golden eagles in the Channel Islands where they began to prey upon pigs, foxes, and cats. The National Park Service's eradication of pigs on Santa Cruz in the mid-1990s led to an escalation of attacks on foxes by golden eagles.
This has prompted some wildlife biologists to lobby for a complete removal of all golden eagles from the Channel Islands as the only means in order to save the Island Fox. (See Franck Courchamp, Rosie Woodroffe, and Gary Roemer, "Removing Protected Populations to Save Endangered Species," 302 Science 1532, November 28, 2003.)
The EA is conspicuously silent as to either the presence of golden eagles on San Nicolas or their impact upon foxes. Even if they are not currently on the island, there is nothing to stop those removed from the northern Channel Islands from returning and setting up shop on San Nicolas.
Wildlife biologists attempt to distinguish between what they like to call native and non-native species with the goal being to bestow upon those species that they favor a natural right to exclusively inhabit a specific piece of earth while simultaneously justifying the extermination of species that they detest, such as cats. Of all their ludicrous arguments, this one is the most dishonest.
Not only are golden eagles not native to the Channel Islands but it is believed that Brandt's Cormorant has been on San Nicolas only since the 1800s. Even the Island Fox has inhabited San Nicolas for only twenty-two-hundred years.
Other introduced species include the side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana),
the southern alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata),
and the chukar (Alectoris chukar).
Even a Virginia opossum was discovered in 1996 and there were three sightings of California grounds squirrels in 1994.
Much more to the point, both the USFWS and the Navy are invasive species and their activities have a far more deleterious effect upon the island's fauna and flora than do cats. It is the epitome of both hypocrisy and injustice for the USFWS and the Navy to exterminate cats and other species in the name of returning the island to some pristine ideal when in reality all they are doing is manipulating the animals for their own selfish purposes.
Wildlife biologists already have turned the Island Fox into a guinea pig through their repeated electronic tagging experiments and captive-breeding programs and more of the same is no doubt in store the island's other species. As far as the Navy is concerned, it is ludicrous for it to maintain that wildlife can peacefully coexist alongside its jets, missiles, vehicles, training exercises, noise, and pollution.
In order for any restoration plan to have a smidgen of legitimacy both the Navy and all wildlife biologists would have to be summarily evicted from San Nicolas Island. The fact that neither group would ever contemplate such a move is just one more indication that they are total frauds. The military is even attempting to add Santa Rosa to its holdings.
Since life on earth is alleged to have emerged from hydrothermal vents in the oceans, all animals, plants, and people are non-native species to one extent or another. Just because one group of animals or people settled in a given area first does not establish a perpetual right to exclusivity. Besides, indigenous status depends first of all upon who is doing the categorizing and, secondly, how far back in the archaeological record one is willing to look.
The theory of natural right is nonetheless a useful tool in order for fascists to justify their crimes. On the intellectual level, it is pure nonsense as well as being morally repulsive.
Even if it is too late to save San Nicolas's cats, there are nonetheless several steps that cat-lovers can take in order to put an end to future exterminations. First of all, a concerted effort desperately needs to be undertaken in order to divest wildlife biologists, whether they are employed by the USFWS, their counterparts in the states, or public universities, of their overinflated welfare checks.
The way forward lies not only in publicizing their crimes against cats but also in making reform of those agencies and schools the litmus test for supporting any candidate for political office. Cat food purveyors and other businesses that cater to felines must be prevailed upon to use their considerable influence and resources toward the realization of this goal. Since such a huge proportion of their revenues is derived from feral colonies, cat food manufacturers have a substantial financial incentive to cooperate.
Reform of the USFWS, the USDA, the National Park Service, and Forest Service is long overdue not only because of the war that they have embarked upon against cats but also due to their complicity with ranchers, farmers, fishermen, developers, and the military at the expense of the wildlife that they are charged with protecting. (See Cat Defender post of September 15, 2005 entitled "United States Government Exterminates Millions of Wild Animals at the Behest of Capitalists.")
At the same time that the USWFS is exterminating wildlife in rural areas it is simultaneously introducing coyotes and fishers into urban areas with the explicit purpose of using them to kill cats. (See Cat Defender posts of July 19, 2007 and August 28, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Up to Their Old Tricks, Wildlife Officials Reintroduce Fishers to the Northeast to Prey Upon Cats and to Provide Income for Fur Traffickers" and "TNR Programs, Domestic Cats, Dogs, and Humans Imperiled by Wildlife Proponents' Use and Abuse of Coyotes and Fishers.")
The USFWS is furthermore blackmailing cities, such as Cape May, into getting rid of their feral cat clonies. (See Cat Defender posts of May 6, 2008 and July 5, 2007 entitled, respectively, "National Audubon Society Wins the Right for Invasive Species of Shorebirds to Prey Upon Unborn Horseshoe Crabs" and "Bird and Wildlife Proponents, Ably Assisted by The Press of Atlantic City, Launch Malicious Libel Campaign Against Feral Cats.")
Meanwhile, the USDA is busy killing cats in the Florida Keys while its Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has targeted Hemingway's polydactyls. (See Cat Defender posts of May 24, 2007 and January 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "USDA and Fish and Wildlife Service Commence Trapping and Killing Cats on Florida's Big Pine Key" and "Papa Hemingway's Polydactyl Cats Face New Threats from both the USDA and Their Caretakers.")
Scurrilous rags, such as the Washington Post
and The New York Times,
that aid and abet wildlife advocates and bird-lovers in their defamations and crimes must be boycotted along with their advertisers. There is not a newspaper in the world that would print columns and letters that demeaned and called for the extermination of ethnic and national groups, but yet these same publications routinely publish anti-cat screeds from hatemongers. The loathsome capitalist media has gotten away with too much for too long and should be held accountable.
Although saving the lives of San Nicolas's cats is of paramount importance, it is unlikely that tyrannical public officials without any regard for the sanctity of feline life are going to harbor much for human life. It is therefore important to always bear in mind that old Irish proverb which cautions: "Beware of people who hate cats."Photos: State of California (San Nicolas Island), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (map of Channel Islands), Wikipedia (Island of the Blue Dolphins), Global Security (military installation), and National Park Service (Island Fox).