Wallowing in Welfare Dollars, Lies, and Prejudice, the Bloodthirsty United States Fish and Wildlife Service Is Again Killing Cats in the Florida Keys
"Due to extensive habitat loss from human development, these species (rabbits and rats) have declined to such low numbers that management intervention is necessary to ensure their survival. Secondary impacts from development include the introduction of non-native predators, such as cats and other exotic animals. While we can't turn back the clock to return the Keys to its (sic) once pristine condition, we can take action now to control current threats from cats and other exotic animals."
-- Anne Morkill, United States Fish and Wildlife Service
The diabolical cat-hating fiends who comprise the ranks of the rogue United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are once again targeting all cats living in the Florida Keys for either outright en masse extermination or subjugation. The latest sinister plot to be hatched by these totally unscrupulous and highly paid welfare bums was scheduled to have begun in early March but due to widespread public opposition from cat advocacy groups outside the region it was delayed for several months..
"We were a little bit too optimistic in thinking we would be able to start in March," the USFWS's Anne Morkill is quoted as conceding in an article posted online April 12th at Care2.com by Alley Cat Rescue of Mount Rainier, Maryland. (See "Update: Feral Cats in the Florida Keys.") "...it probably will be another couple of months before we physically start (trapping and killing)."
Although accurate information is about as scarce as hens' teeth, it is believed that the USFWS began its killing spree on June 4th. Every bit as worrisome, no data have been released to the public as to the number of cats trapped and killed. (See "Florida Keys Treasures.com, May 19, 2011, "Feral Cat Trapping Delayed.")
While waiting for the uproar to subside, Morkill and her fellow henchmen kept busy by mounting yet still another massive propaganda offensive designed to convince a skeptical public that this slaughter is not only necessary but justified in order to save an endangered rabbit and a rat. "They (opponents of the plan) think we're dealing with cat colonies on the streets of Key West or Marathon," she fumed to the Keynoter of Marathon on January 29th. (See "Cat-Trapping Foes Hit Refuge with Ten-Thousand E-Mails.") "It shows we need to do a better job explaining that the scope of the program is limited to national wildlife refuges." (See photo above of her plotting strategy with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar during a tour of the Keys on January 8th.)
Arrogant, outright lies such as that reveal the USFWS's utter contempt not only for cats but their advocates as well. Contrary to the sottise that drips from Morkill's gaping maw, the tens of thousands of individuals who wrote letters in opposition understand only too well what the USFWS intends and no amount of double talk from her is going to pull the wool over their eyes.
Earlier on January 2nd, she cavalierly belittled the concerns of cat advocates in particular and animal lovers in general by sneering down her long, dirty nose to The Miami Herald that "...some people believe every animal has a right to live." (See "Feds Hope to Rid Keys' Refuges of Exotic Predators, Including Feral Cats.")
Therein lies the crux of the disagreement between animal lovers and wildlife biologists such as Morkill. Whereas the former recognize the inalienable right of all animals to live, the latter maintain that they have a god-given right to eradicate all species that they either hate or simply find unprofitable. If applied to human affairs, such an ideology would fall under the rubric of either genocide or ethnic cleansing and its adherents would be duly charged with crimes against humanity.
As outlined in its January 3rd propaganda publication entitled "Draft Integrated Predator Management Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA), the USFWS is planning on liquidating all cats either living or straying into the National Key Deer Refuge and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge, both located on Big Pine Key, Key West National Wildlife Refuge, and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge on North Key Largo. Those four parcels of land are collectively known as the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex (FKNWRC).
Being not only virulent cat-haters but inveterate liars as well, the USFWS is attempting to fob off this eradication scheme as humane since the cats will be trapped and then handed over to a shelter. Although the USFWS has elevated shading the truth to something akin to an art form, it knows as well as everyone else that very few cats that enter shelters ever come out alive.
In this particular instance, those cats trapped in the Lower Keys will be handed over to a notorious death camp operated by the Florida Keys SPCA in Key West. "Rarely has anyone wanted to adopt a feral cat," the shelter's commandant, Connie Christian, freely confessed to the Keynoter on January 5th. (See "Not Everyone Happy with Refuges' Predator Plan.") "Then there is no option."
Her last statement is a blatant lie in that the fair and humane alternative is neither to harm nor incarcerate cats in the first place. Cats simply do not belong in shelters under any circumstances and that is an opinion which is shared by University of Pennsylvania veterinarian Michael Moyer and others. (See Philadelphia Inquirer, March 11, 2011, "Shelter Shock.")
Cats that are trapped on Key Largo will not fare any better. "This (removal) program has been going on for years," is how Tom Garrettson of the Humane Animal Care Coalition, which operates the Upper Keys Animal Shelter for Monroe County, shrugged off the concerns of cat lovers to the Keynoter on December 29, 2010. (See "Keys' Refuges to Target Animal Predators.") "As far as the volume of cats, it hasn't been a problem."
That is because Garrettson and his minions exterminate most of them. "If the cat has a tag or has obviously been cared for, we make every effort to return it to the owner," he added almost as an afterthought.
Based upon that admission, his shelter presumably does not ever bother to scan cats for implanted microchips. Furthermore, collars and tags can and do come off and even domesticated cats that get lost can look haggard after a few days of sleeping rough.
Much more to the point, he is being not only dishonest but grossly unjust by killing cats based solely upon their socio-economic status. A cat is a cat and that is that as an old Sprichwort stipulates and a vagabond of the street has just as much of a right to live as a pampered princess. Besides, anyone who claims to be able to distinguish between a domiciled and a homeless cat with any measurable degree of accuracy is a barefaced liar.
Following upon the heels of the successful ouster and, presumably, cold-blooded murders of twenty cats at the Key West Naval Air Station on Boca Chica in 2005 and 2006, the USFWS and its sister agency, the USDA's Wildlife Services, embarked upon an earlier feline eradication campaign in the Florida Keys during the spring of 2007. On that sad occasion, the trapped cats were transferred to so-called no-kill shelters operated by Stand Up for Animals on Big Pine Key and in Marathon.
Those that were not adopted allegedly were placed either in sanctuaries or released elsewhere through the combined efforts of Forgotten Felines of Marathon, Caring for Cats of Islamorada, and Whiskers and Paws Forever of Monroe County. Even under that seemingly humane scenario, those deemed to be either sick or injured were promptly dispatched to the devil.
Although it never has been disclosed what pretext Stand Up for Animals employed in order to justify those wanton and totally uncalled for killings, it is not uncommon for shelters to kill cats suffering from such insignificant ailments as common colds and lethargy. Under such circumstances, there is not any way of knowing how many cats were killed.
Just as importantly, no evidence has been presented to the public that would confirm that those cats supposedly humanely removed are still alive today. (See Cat Defender post of May 24, 2007 entitled "USDA and Fish and Wildlife Service Commence Trapping and Killing Cats on Florida's Big Pine Key.")
Whereas it is remotely conceivable that there might be a few no-kill shelters that operate on the up and up, the movement is, generally speaking, a grotesque fraud. (See Cat Defender post of July 29, 2010 entitled "Benicia Vallejo Humane Society Is Outsourcing the Mass Killing of Kittens and Cats All the While Masquerading as a No Kill Shelter.")
Adding insult to injury, officials from Monroe County last August accused Stand Up for Animal of financial improprieties and as a result both of the shelters that it operated are not shuttered. Forgotten Felines is still in operation and presumably the same holds true for Caring for Cats and Whiskers and Paws Forever but what role, if any, they are playing this time around is unknown.
The difficulty of obtaining accurate and current information is further complicated by the fact that the USFWS likes to commit its atrocities in secret and the capitalist media are more than willing to allow it to do so. It is, however, the deafening silence emanating from cat advocacy groups both within and outside the Keys that is unforgivable.
In keeping with its longstanding, pigheaded policy of no compromises, the USFWS steadfastly has refused to consider any alternative to trap and kill. Most notably, it has rejected TNR out of hand.
In defense of this policy, the USFWS claims that studies have "proven" that cats' hunting instinct is unrelated to hunger and as a consequence TNR does little to curb their predation of wildlife. (EA, page 16.) That is pure nonsense.
While it is true that some cats hunt instinctively, others do so solely for food. Some do so only in self-defense and still others do not hunt at all.
Moreover, in many parts of the country and world inclimate weather and a lack of game make hunting a total waste of time for up to as much as six months a year. Anecdotal evidence also tends to suggest that the proficient hunters are almost exclusively females and that eliminates half of the feline population right there.
Furthermore, it stands to reason that a cat in a managed colony with a reliable source of food and water will hunt considerably less than one that has no alternative other than to kill in order to live.
The USFWS goes on to erroneously claim not only that TNR does not reduce the size of homeless colonies but actually contributes to their enlargement because their very existence promotes cat dumping. (EA, page 16.) It is, first of all, interesting to note that that the big-brained, big-talking wildlife biologists at the USFWS apparently believe that sterilized cats keep reproducing. Secondly, since most managed colonies are located in remote areas, cat dumping is kept to a minimum. Besides, all newcomers are trapped and sterilized.
As per usual, the thoroughly dishonest USFWS has cherry-picked the scientific data so as to give TNR a black eye. "The plan is based on a deeply flawed interpretation of TNR research, and several studies were omitted," Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies (ACA) told the Cat Channel on February 10th. (See "Alley Cat Allies Addresses Federal Plan to 'Trap and Remove' Cats.") "Similar plans by the agency have already killed feral, stray and pet cats with no benefit whatsoever."
The USFWS goes on to claim that TNR is not only prohibited on national wildlife refuges but that its practice is in violation of both the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) of 1918. TNR is illegal on refuges only because the USFWS arbitrarily has declared it to be so. As far as the ESA and MBTA are concerned, both predate TNR and do not even mention it.
Not contented with merely clearing the FKNWRC of all cats, the USFWS additionally is demanding that they and their feeding stations be removed from all "public properties that are adjacent to or near refuge lands." (EA, page 13.) Despite what Morkill has said, such an open-ended mandate will allow the USFWS and its death squads to trap and kill cats on, inter alia, city streets, country roads, and in municipal parks.
Removing cats from nature reserves because they allegedly are a threat to wildlife is merely the first step in an intricate plan designed to eradicate the entire species. Moreover, such thinking is by no means peculiar to the USFWS; au contraire, it is a goal shared by wildlife biologists and birds worldwide.
"As long as the feral cat populations continue to rise there is no choice but to introduce regulations to permit the trapping and killing of cats in any area that is not distinctly urban, and in urban areas where the density of feral cat population exceeds a certain level," bird lovers Yoram Yom-Tov and Eli Gefen of Tel Aviv University wrote in an online essay last year. "In ancient Egypt the cat was a sacred animal. In Israel there is no justification for this. (See Haaretz, May 9, 2010, "Street Cats Are Paying the Price for Saving the Birds.")
The USFWS also is pressuring officials in Monroe County to enact stringent anti-roaming statutes that would require all cats "owned, sold, adopted, licensed, or taken to a vet" be either microchipped, tattooed, or tagged. (EA, page 13.) Shelters and veterinarians sans doute already are licking their chops in eager anticipation of the financial windfall that is destined to come their way.
Backed up by the massive power of the entire national government, the USFWS has numerous ways of strong-arming local and state officials into knuckling under to its will. For example, a few years back in Cape May, New Jersey, it had funds earmarked for beach replenishment withheld until the city belatedly complied with its edict and evicted all cats from Higbee Beach.
If city officials had had an ounce of moxie in their subservient old bones they would have told the USFWS to have stuck its shekels up its crack and instead found an alternative source of funding. Wes Brot ich ess, des Lied ich sing is never a sound policy especially when dealing with a government as tyrannical and criminal as the one headquartered on the Potomac.
It is interesting to note in passing that the USFWS arrived at its one-sided, jaundiced opinion of TNR by relying, in part, upon data supplied by the cat-hating frauds at PETA. The organization should feel vindicated in that, like the USFWS, it always has been more concerned with killing cats and other animals than saving them. After all, birds of a feather flock together.
Having made short shrift of TNR, the USFWS next categorically rejects trapping the cats and relocating them elsewhere. "Translocation of exotic species to their respective native habitats is not practical or economically feasible given that they originated in other states or countries, such as the Burmese pythons...Given that cats are domesticated they have no true native range to be relocated to," the USFWS, as proud as punch of itself, thunders triumphantly. (EA, page 17.)
Called upon to deliver the finishing touch to her agency's mindless indulgence in reductio ad absurdum logic, Morkill let it be known in no uncertain terms that not so much as one penny of her haul from the taxpayers was to be used under any circumstances in order to save the life of a cat. "We can't spend taxpayer money on (TNR) programs," she bellowed to the Keynoter in the January 29th article cited supra. "Feral cats are not native, even if they live in the wild."
It is bad enough that the vast majority of Americans live off of a combination of welfare, freebooty, and borrowed money but their total unwillingness to share is even more unbecoming. In the case of the USFWS, Congress has given it $50,000 for this feline eradication effort, just as it did likewise in 2007.
While that is a far cry from the $1,854,100 that it was given to shotgun to death one-hundred-fifty cats on San Nicolas in 2008 and 2009, it is not chicken feed either. Much more importantly, the money in both instances could have been far more productively spent in sparing the cats' lives.
Taken in toto, the USFWS's plan represents the embodiment of its long-held belief that the only good cat is a dead one. By foreclosing all options except the gallows, the agency's scheme brings to mind what Ambrose Bierce once said concerning the institution of private property.
"Carried to its logical conclusion, it means that some have the right to prevent others from living; for the right to own implies the right to exclusively occupy; and in fact laws of trespass are enacted whenever property in land is recognized," he wrote in his Devil's Dictionary. "It follows that if the whole area of terra firma is owned by A, B, and C, there will be no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to exist."
To put it succinctly, if place of birth does not establish both a right to live and a right to occupy a certain habitat then nothing else does. Furthermore, the rejection of such natural, inherent rights can serve only as a blueprint for the commisssion of all sorts of unspeakable atrocities.
Besides being absurd, the USFWS's reasoning is totally bogus. First of all, the agency is comprised of a gaggle of cat-hating freeloaders who do not own a single centimeter of public land. If sufficient public opposition could be mounted, the agency could be replaced and its hateful, prejudicial policies reversed.
Secondly, if the agency were the least bit serious about protecting endangered species it would be bending over backwards in order to reach a compromise with cat advocates and the supporters of other animals that also are on its hit list. In particular, it should be willing to either fund TNR programs or to humanely relocate cats elsewhere.
It therefore should not come as any surprise that the USFWS's stated objectives in the Florida Keys cannot possibly be achieved. "Sending cats to senseless deaths to 'protect' other animals does nothing to address the true threat to these species: humans. And so the plan doesn't have a real chance of successfully protecting endangered species," ACA wrote in a letter sent to the USFWS in January. (See "I Want TNR -- Not Trap an Kill -- in the Florida Keys.") "The problems caused by people kill millions of animals per year: habitat loss, urbanization, pollution, and environmental degradation."
Since neither the USFWS nor any other federal or state agency will do much of anything about protecting the animals and environment from developers and polluters, they instead have made cats the scapegoats for all that is wrong in nature. As Morkill and her colleagues understand so well, demonizing and killing cats is not only easy but strikes a responsive chord in the diseased minds of ailurophobes and fascists.
"Due to extensive habitat loss from human development, these species (rabbits and rats) have declined to such low numbers that management intervention is necessary to ensure their survival," she admitted to the Keynoter in the December 29, 2010 article cited supra. "Secondary impacts from development include the introduction of non-native predators, such as cats and other exotic predators. While we can't turn back the clock to return the Keys to its (sic) once pristine condition, we can take action now to control current threats from cats and other exotic animals."
Her partner in crime, Chad Anderson of National Key Deer Refuge, has made a career out of sawing on the same old, worn-out and out of tune fiddle. "We don't want to further make it harder for all the critters to make their living by this uncontrolled experiment of non-native species," he whined to The Miami Herald in the January 2nd article cited supra. "The native species have been playing the back and forth game for thousands of years. But all within the last fifty years, we've dumped in all these new species that don't have the system of checks and balances, down to the germs and viruses."
Bird advocates play the same dishonest, hypocritical game of demonizing and killing cats while steadfastly being too craven to confront developers and polluters. "They (cats) are, however, one of the causes that we have some control over," bird advocate and teacher Drew Morkman declared to The Petersborough Examiner of Ontario on January 27th. (See "Save a Bird, Keep the Cat Inside.")
Of all of Morkill's and Anderson's blatant lies, their labeling of cats are exotic, non-native predators is the most ludicrous and hypocritical. That is especially so in light of the fact that with the notable exception of Native Americans all occupants of the Western Hemisphere fall into the same category.
In particular, the employees of the USFWS are the very epitome of exotic, non-native predators who do far more damage to wildlife and Mother Earth in a single day than cats and other species have done in the past thousand years.
Furthermore, thousands of fauna and flora have been imported into this hemisphere ever since, at least, the arrival of the Vikings. Some, such as cats, have been extremely beneficial whereas others have provoked ecological chaos.
For example, tamarisk trees were imported around 1850 but soon grew out of control and that led to the introduction of the tamarisk beetle from Afghanistan. Now, the trees are under assault and that has imperiled the willow flycatcher which nests in them. (See CBC's As It Happens, April 25, 2011, "Munching Beetle.")
Trade, tourism, and immigration continue to bring in more and more new species of animals, plants, and viruses every day. For instance, the Emerald Ash Borer currently is laying waste of trees in New England while Chinese Mitten Crabs are creating problems in New York's Hudson River.
Even microorganisms living in the bilge tanks of cargo ships cause millions of dollars worth of damage each year when they are flushed into American harbors. The only sure-fire way of stopping these invasions would be to seal off the country to both foreigners and commerce and that is not about to happen.
Genetically modified crops are invasive species which are harmful to both native fauna and flora and yet the phony-baloney USFWS has sanctioned their planting in more than eighty national wildlife refuges that it oversees. (See Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) press release of March 24, 2009 entitled "Lawsuit Ends Genetically Engineered Crops on Wildlife Refuge. Ruling on Delaware's Prime Hook May Affect Farmers on Scores of Other Refuges.")
Even more outrageous, the USFWS, Wildlife Services, and other federal agencies systematically exterminate millions of native animals, such as bears, bobcats, badgers, coyotes, fishers, cougars, beavers, rabbits, foxes, birds, and prairie dogs, each year.
In May, the Obama Administration signed off on the USFWS's plan to allow almost six-thousand indigenous gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes region to be hunted. (See photo above of one of them.)
That marked the first time in history that Congress, a president, and the USFWS had conspired to strip a species of its protections under the ESA. (See Philadelphia Inquirer, May 5, 2011, "Gray Wolves, Once Near Extinction, Lose Protection.")
The USFWS has done absolutely nothing to protect native animals and plants from the horrific destruction caused by coal mining and, in particular, mountaintop removal in Appalachia. (See The New York Times, August 11, 2009, "Enviro Groups Tread Lightly with Endangered Species Act in Appalachia.")
Similarly, the USFWS allows endangered Florida manatees to be harassed and abused by tourists. (See PEER press release of July 15, 2009, "Move to End Harassment of Florida Manatees. Legal Filing to Outlaw Manatee 'Swim-With' Dives by One-Hundred-Thousand Tourists Annually.")
The USFWS also steadfastly has refused to designate a single acre of critical habitat in order to protect either the Florida Panther or the American Jaguar. (See PEER press release of July 9, 2009, "Fish and Wildlife Service in Florida: Portrait of a Failed Agency," Center for Biological Diversity's press release of February 18, 2010, "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sued over Repeated Failure to Protect Endangered Florida Panther" and Cat Defender post of May 21, 2009 entitled "Macho B, America's Last Jaguar, Is Illegally Trapped, Radio-Collared, and Killed Off by Wildlife Biologists in Arizona.")
On the Columbia and Williamette rivers in Washington and Oregon, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the United States Army Corps of Engineers are killing, hazing, and harassing migrating California sea lions in order to stop them from eating salmon and steelhead. That is in spite of the fact that all three species are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. (See photo above of Trevor Diemer, a biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, firing delayed explosive ammo called cracker shells from a shotgun at sea lions on the Williamette River in Oregon City.)
The sea lions have been made the scapegoats for dwindling fish stocks even though both commercial, recreational, and Native American fisherman as well as the operators of hydropower dams kill far more fish than they do. Like cats in the Florida Keys, sea lions visiting the northwest, which is an integral part of their historic habitat, are being singled out for slaughter while the feds suck up to the capitalists.
C'est-à-dire, the operators of the dams and fishermen are entitled to prey upon fish but not the sea lions. Of course, the fish cannot win under any circumstances. (See The Oregonian, November 10, 2010, "Task Force Recommends Killing More Sea Lions at Bonneville Dam to Protect Endangered Species" and the opinion by Judge Raymond C. Fisher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Humane Society of the United States v Locke, delivered on November 23, 2010.)
The long and the short of the matter is that the USFWS and other federal agencies are always up to something dishonest when it comes to their stewardship of both the animals and the environment. Instead of implementing policies that revere and respect the animals and nature, they are motivated by ingrained prejudices and an arrested development that makes them fit only to serve as the bootlicks of the money men. The natural treasures of this once great land could not possibly be in worse hands.
The endangered rabbit at the center of the USFWS's feline eradication campaign is the Lower Keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri). As its Latin name implies, its cause has been championed in the past by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. (See photo of one of them above on the right.)
According to the USFWS's one-sided research, cats are responsible for half of all marsh rabbit mortalities. Responsibility for the other half is parceled out amongst bald eagles, snakes, raccoons, motorists, hunters, developers, pesticides, and hurricanes.
The rat in question is the Key Large wood rat (Neotoma floridana smalli). Once its population had plummeted to approximately three-hundred, the USFWS, Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, and the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa embarked upon an ambitious captive-breeding program in 2002.
Even then it took the scientists eight years to produce seven wood rats that were deemed fit enough to be reintroduced to the wild. (See photo below of one of them.)
Those seven pioneers were released in February of 2010 with another group of septuplets scheduled to have been reintroduced later that month. (See The Miami Herald, February 10, 2010, "Key Largo Gets Some Wood Rats Back.")
True to form, the USFWS is not about to disclose either how many of them died at Disney World or how terribly they and their parents were treated by the scientists. The meager results would tend to suggest, however, that the mortality rate was high which in turn no doubt forced the scientists to further deplete the dwindling stock of those few that remain in the wild in order to obtain additional guinea pigs.
All of those reintroduced at Crocodile Lake were fitted with surveillance collars by the USFWS whose batteries had a life span of sixty days. More than likely the USFWS has been continuously trapping them ever since in order to fit their transponders with new batteries.
As the result of this surveillance, the USFWS has concluded that cats were responsible for seventy-seven per cent of the mortalities suffered by the reintroduced wood rats. The USFWS arrived at that figure based solely upon the "personal conclusion" of the manager of Crocodile Lake, S. Klett. (EA, page 3.)
For an agency that is all the time running off at the mouth about how that its decisions are grounded in incontrovertible science, no matter how biased and contrived, that is an astounding admission. If truth and honesty any longer mattered in governmental and academic circles, life and death policy decisions based solely upon "what a little birdie told me" would be laughed at as opposed to being rubber-stamped as gospel.
The USFWS is so corrupt, biased, and insecure that it not only systematically ignores all research data that are contrary to its feline liquidation agenda, but it goes to gargantuan lengths in order to exclude all cat advocates from its decision making process. It has done that in the Florida Keys just as it did in 2008 when it hired an unprincipled gaggle of like-minded wildlife biologists from H.T. Harvey and Associates of Fresno to prepare a one-sided indictment against the cats then living on San Nicolas. (See Cat Defender post of June 27, 2008 entitled "United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navy Hatch a Diabolical Plan to Gun Down Two-Hundred Cats on San Nicolas.")
Obviously the USFWS either does not recognize any difference between science and prejudice or simply is too dishonest, criminal, and fanatical to care one way or the other. It accordingly is a foregone conclusion that it is every bit as morally bankrupt as it is intellectually deficient.
"Western civilization, unfortunately, does not link knowledge and morality but rather it connects knowledge and power and makes them equivalent," Native American scholar Vine Deloria Jr. once observed. As a consequence, the USFWS and other federal and state agencies are allowed to kill millions of cats and other animals each year simply because no individual or group is willing to stop them.
Even in the wild wood rats have a low birth rate and that undoubtedly is contributing mightily to their demise. Other factors include predation by Burmese pythons and, possibly, a roundworm found in the feces of raccoons.
All of those factors pale in comparison, however, to moneygrubbing developers ravaging their habitat. Even more startling, the rat's precipitate decline since 1995 has occurred while its remaining habitat was under the control of the USFWS and the state of Florida. That development alone calls into question the competence of the USFWS to protect any species.
Whereas the USFWS acknowledges the primacy of habitat destruction, it not only is totally unwilling to curb development but is working hand and glove with developers and politicians to destroy what remains of the Keys. For example, the number of building permits that Monroe County is authorized to issue on Big Pine Key, and presumably elsewhere as well, is contingent upon its safeguarding the marsh rabbit and other endangered species.
If the USFWS had anything remotely resembling a coherent and consistent policy toward the preservation of either endangered species or the Keys it would insist that in addition to cats that developers, polluters, and hunters be given the heave-ho. Since it is unwilling to do that it should allow cats and other species on its hit list to remain in the Keys.
That list includes Virginia opossums, nine-banded armadillos, boa constrictors, Burmese pythons, Gambian pouch rats, black rats, green iguanas, Nile Monitors, black spinytail iguanas, red fire ants, and raccoons. With the notable exception of some raccoons, which are native, all of these species will be liquidated on the spot and the stomachs of iguanas, lizards, snakes, and no doubt other species, will be dissected and inventoried so as to collect data which then will be used to justify future eradications. (EA, page 14.)
The national government's collusion with developers, polluters, and hunters can be seen not only in the machinations of the USFWS but especially those of Wildlife Services. Each year it spends close to $120 million of taxpayers' money gassing, trapping, poisoning, and shooting between two and three million wild animals at the beckoning call of developers, ranchers, farmers, mineral extraction companies, hunters, airports, the military, swimming pool operators, and golf courses. (See Cat Defender post of September 15, 2005 entitled "United States Government Exterminates Millions of Wild Animals at the Behest of Capitalists," USA Today, June 21, 2009, "NYC to Euthanize (sic) Geese," and the CBC's As It Happens, April 29, 2011, "JFK Falcons Fired.")
All of that is in addition to the death squads maintained by the individual states. For example, Game, Fish, and Parks and the Agriculture Department in South Dakota annually spend hundred of thousands of dollars poisoning prairie dogs on private ranches. (See USA Today, May 25, 2011, "South Dakota: Rapid City" news brief.)
Whenever they are not actually doing the killing themselves, the states give free rein to hunters and trappers. For example, hunters slaughtered more than six-hundred defenseless black bears in New Jersey last autumn and another killing spree already has been scheduled for later this year.
In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) licensed seven-thousand-nine-hundred-eighty-seven trappers in 2009 and 2010 who in turn killed 498,643 animals. Moreover, that number does not even include hawks, eagles, owls, small mammals, and cats unintentionally trapped and killed.
Another 182,211 gray and red foxes, raccoons, and coyotes were killed by archers and shooters. Innumerable deer, bears, turkeys, mourning doves, crows, ducks, and geese also were obliterated by hunters.
An unspecified number of mink, skunks, muskrats, fishers, weasels, and river otters were killed for their lucrative pelts. In 2010 alone, 37,425 of Wisconsin's remaining 66,800 beavers were drowned in traps. Quail, partridges, and sharp-tailed grouse have been hunted almost into extinction.
Four-hundred-ninety-three of the state's remaining bobcats were mowed down by hunters in 2010 and, worst still, most cubs are killed in steel-jaw traps before they even reach the age of two. (See The Capital Times, February 6, 2011, "Patricia Randolph's Madravenspeak: Wisconsin Hates Wildlife" and Cat Defender post of February 5, 2011 entitled "Left Stranded by His Mother, Almond Finds a Home in the Hollow of a Maple Tree That Comes with Private Catering.")
In addition to allowing wildlife biologists and hunters to slaughter species both for profit and out of malice, human predation is contrary to natural predation where it typically is the smaller, weaker, and older animals that are killed. By allowing the killing of large, healthy, reproductively-mature animals, human predation is causing rapid evolutionary changes within species. Specifically, such policies are producing animals that are twenty per cent smaller than their predecessors and who in turn give birth twenty-five per cent earlier and, as an added consequence, less often.
According to researchers, that is not only occurring in mammals but also in fish, plants, and invertebrates. (See Chris Darimont et alii., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "Human Predators Outpace Other Agents of Trait Change in the Wild" and National Parks Traveler, January 18, 2009, "Humans as 'Super-Predators' -- New Study Offers Startling Information about Hunting and Fishing.")
Wisconsin's flagship school, the University of Wisconsin in Madison, is not only home to a gaggle of cutthroat vivisectors who torture and slaughter defenseless animals at no fewer than sixty different locations on campus, but it also is where Stanley A. Temple earns his blood money. It was back in 2005 that his totally bogus study of alleged feline predation of birds prompted the authorities to seriously consider allowing the Badger State to join the ranks of Minnesota and South Dakota as the only states that hunt cats.
Not surprisingly, the USFWS provided the funding for Temple's lies and is to this very day quoting them in the EA as if they were nothing less than the unvarnished truth. Temple is such an unscrupulous scoundrel that he even shanghaied his cat, Flynn, into wearing a radio collar for eight years so that he could collect data for his study. (See photo below of him with Flynn.)
Despite the fact that there is not a shred of evidence to indicate that Temple ever has so much as raised his voice against the carnage inflicted upon countless scores of defenseless animals by the DNR, trappers, and hunters, he is hailed as a hero by the sleazy, unprincipled institution that employs him. (See UW-Wisconsin press release of January 27, 2011, "Stan Temple: A Life Saving Threatened Species.")
Nico Dauphiné of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo in Washington is another bird advocate who systematically abuses cats by mounting cameras on them in order to record their interactions with birds. That is not all that she does, however.
Late last month she was caught on closed circuit camera setting out dishes of food laced with antifreeze and rat poison for homeless cats that live near her apartment in the Columbia Heights section of the city. She subsequently was arrested by the Washington Humane Society and charged with animal cruelty and could receive up to six months in jail and be fined $1,000 if convicted.
Despite her criminal behavior, the National Zoo is standing by her and steadfastly has refused to even suspend her. (See ABC-TV News, May 24, 2011, "DC Zoo Employee Denies Charge She Tried to Poison Feral Cats.")
At Tel Aviv University, Yom Tov's mentor, Professor Heinrich Mendelssohn, made a career out of poisoning his neighbors' cats in order to protect green lizards. "They fall asleep and that way the lizards can eat harmful insects on the plants," he confessed in 2000. (See Haaretz, December 24, 2010, "Israeli Cat Lovers' Lament.")
The cat protection movement faces many challenges and both time and money are in short supply. Nevertheless, it is long overdue that decisive action was taken against academics such as Temple and Dauphiné who turn cats into guinea pigs in order to collect data which they later use as a pretext in order to eradicate scores of other felines.
Others who deliberately either kill or attempt to kill cats, such Dauphiné, must be promptly arrested and severely punished to the fullest extent that the law allows. Mendelssohn, thankfully, is rotting in his grave but the evil that he sowed in the hearts of his brainwashed students lives on after him.
Just as it did on San Nicolas, it is highly probable that the USFWS arrived at its estimates of feline predation of marsh rabbits and wood rats by trapping and killing cats and then inventoring their stomachs. As is the case with forcing cats to wear burdensome cameras and radio collars, this odious practice must be outlawed and the anti-cruelty statutes rigorously applied to birders and wildlife biologists both inside and outside of governmental institutions.
The National Zoo is by no means the only animal penitentiary that abuses cats. The Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam, Linton Zoo in Cambridgeshire, and the Berliner Zoo, just to name a few, hold domestic cats hostage to serve as surrogate mothers, playmates, and blood donors for wild animals. (See Cat Defender post of December 4, 2010 entitled "Muschi Is Left on Her Own in a Perilous Environment after the Berliner Zoo Kills Off Her Best Friend and Protector, Mäuschen.")
Wildlife refuge centers, such as Carolina Wildlife Care near Columbia, South Carolina, also shanghai domestic cats into becoming surrogate mothers. (See AOL, April 30, 2010, "Bobcat Cubs Milk Attention from Adopted Moms.")
Because of their avowed hatred of the species, it is inconceivable that any wildlife biologist or birder is capable of humanely treating cats. Consequently, it is imperative that they be prevented not only from adopting them but of even going near them.
Since the USFWS makes no bones about its virulent hatred of cats, few individuals knowingly are taken in by its lies. The same cannot be said for the phony-baloney rescue groups in the Keys who are supposedly protecting cats.
The sellout of the cats began in 2008 when the USFWS, still smarting from the failure of its liquidation effort of a year earlier, decided to try a new tack. Realizing that it is easier to catch flies with sugar than vinegar, it set out to inveigle the cat people into doing its bidding for it.
Toward that end, it staged four public meetings with cat and other animal protection groups. Out of those bull sessions, a new group called One Animal Family was formed under the aegis of the existing Friends and Volunteers of the Refuges (FAVOR).
The fact that FAVOR was involved in any way was a dead giveaway from the outset that the cats were about to meet their Waterloo. That is because the organization's Sandy Brown and, presumably other members as well, is an apostle of the American Bird Conservancy's (ABC) cats indoors agenda. In fact, One Animal Family now freely admits on its web site that it is affiliated with the ABC and fully endorses its cats indoors agenda.
"The ultimate hope is that all Keys's residents -- not just residents within the National Key Deer Refuge -- start taking action that will benefit the health of their own pets, stop overpopulation, and help folks live next door to nature, thereby protecting wildlife," Alison Higgins of One Animal Family told the Keynoter in the December 29th article cited supra. "Specifically, we hope to limit the numbers of domestic animals from ever being trapped."
Jerry Dykhuisen of Forgotten Felines of Marathon was ecstatic about the formation of One Animal Family and told The Miami Herald in the January 2nd article cited supra that he gave the USFWS "kudos for making a genuine effort to get everyone together."
Once the USFWS announced its intended killing spree, he did an abrupt about-face and began singing an entirely different tune. "We are not very pleased," he bellyached to the Keynoter in the January 5th article cited supra.
"This is going to be a death sentence for some of the cats," he told The Miami Herald in the January 2nd article cited supra.
He later feebly attempted to explain away his decision to throw in with the USFWS by telling the Keynoter "but that was when we had a no-kill shelter on Big Pine Key."
Both Higgins and Dykhuisen are lying through their rotten teeth. They knowingly sold the cats down the river to their arch-enemies and as a consequence they now have blood all over their hands.
Despite their vociferous disavowals to the contrary, both of them knew only too well that the USFWS is a cat-killing machine that has been involved in countless extermination efforts before and as a consequence they had no business of going into cahoots with it. At the bare minimum they should have insisted that the agency change its policies and renounce demonizing and killing cats. Toward that objective, they should have exacted a pledge in writing from the USFWS that it would support either TNR or the humane relocation of the cats.
They both likewise are fully cognizant of the fact that there always will be homeless cats. That is because just about all so-called shelters are in reality extermination camps. Faced with the Hobson's choice of either signing a cat's death warrant or dumping it, compassionate individuals always will choose the latter alternative.
Despite that reality, Dykhuisen has gone over to the other side and is now pimping for the cat killers. "One of the major enclaves of the refuge is No Name Key," he told The Miami Herald in the January 2nd article cited supra. "People go out there and abandon their animals where nobody sees them do it. That's got to stop."
On that point, he is in full agreement with the USFWS. More importantly, if he and the USFWS are allowed to prevail all homeless cats in the Keys plus innumerable domiciled ones will be killed.
Sellouts within the feline protection movement are, sadly, the rule as opposed to the exception. For example, the Humane Society of the United States sold out San Nicolas's cats to the USFWS in 2008 and Neighborhood Cats in Manhattan seemingly is always on the lookout to make some sort of weasel deal with the species' sworn enemies. (See Cat Defender posts of April 28, 2009, November 20, 2009, and June 15, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Quislings at the Humane Society Sell Out San Nicolas's Cats to the Assassins at the Diabolical United States Fish and Wildlife Service," "Memo to the Humane Society: Tell the World Exactly How Many Cats You and Your Honeys at the USFWS Have Murdered on San Nicolas Island," and "American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form an Achse des Bösen Against Cats.")
"I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight," Warren G. Harding once observed. "But my damn friends, my goddamned friends, they're the ones who keep me walking the floor at night!"
To put it another way, with friends like Dykhuisen and his cohorts, what do the cats need with enemies?
The future for cats in the Keys, both homeless and domesticated, looks especially grim. There conceivably still might be time to interrupt this en masse slaughter if sufficient public opposition could be mounted but given the collusion of local humane groups with the USFWS and the ABC that is, admittedly, a long shot.
Nevertheless, if the USFWS is not confronted and stopped now it is a foregone conclusion that it will embark upon future eradications in the Keys either next year or the year thereafter. Besides, stopping the USFWS in the Keys would go a long way toward putting an end to its crimes against cats elsewhere.
Photos: Tami Heilemann of the Department of the Interior (Morkill and Salazar), Yellowstone National Park (wolf), Everton Bailey Jr. of The Oregonian (Diemer), Neil Perry of the USFWS (marsh rabbit), Lowry Park Zoo (wood rat), and UW-Madison (Temple and Flynn).