No to TNR

A bill before New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposes to fund TNR programs around the state. These are efforts to Trap, Neuter and vaccinate, and then Release feral cats back in the places they were found. Feral cats are our number one invasive species. They kill enormous numbers of birds and mammals every year and are an abject plague upon the natural world. I wrote about this disaster, citing some of the relevant studies and details, for JSTOR Daily.

This law, sponsored by no-kill shelters (who will get money out of it, btw,) and very selective “animal lovers” is totally wrong-headed.

Cuomo has until October 26 to sign it into law, veto, or (hello, Governor Cuomo!) do nothing and just let the bill run out of time. That last option is the pocket veto, preferred by politicians everywhere.

The bill is A2778/S1081
Call the governor’s office at 1-518-474-8390
Email the governor.

UPDATED 10/27 Cuomo has vetoed this bill. Here’s the American Bird Conservatory on why this was the right thing to do

3 Responses to “No to TNR”


  1. 1 Eileen October 20, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    It is interesting to think of feral cats as ‘invasive species’ and i know many who suggest TNR as a way to reduce the overall number of cats in the wild. Aside from trying to educate the public on not releasing unwanted pets, what do you think a better solution would be to the problem? Trap and euthanize? Many of the feral cats in my urban neighborhood are wild, and not adoptable.

  2. 2 Shayna Marchese October 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I see this problem from both sides, probably more than most. At its heart, it’s a problem with people–people don’t spay/neuter their cats, people abandon their cats, people let their cats roam free in their neighborhood. Plus, of course, as people we’ve “rid” our urban and suburban areas of most natural predators.

    The TNR people don’t want the cats out there either, but there’s a reason that trap-neuter-return (and not trap-and-kill) has taken hold: no armies of volunteers are rallying to devote their time to capture cats that will be killed. Returning the cats to their outdoor “homes” is far more palatable, though obviously far from ideal. Theoretically it’s keeping the population stable, but… people still dump their cats. People will even see a feral cat colony as a preferable place to abandon their cat (as opposed to a shelter where they know their surrendered pet may be euthanized).

    I don’t have an issue with TNR being funded if the alternative is to do *nothing* about feral cats. However, it’d be nice if some of that TNR funding were devoted to coming up with other solutions: relocate or create enclosures in particularly sensitive areas, for one. Both sides could focus more on the common ground: no one *wants* to be dealing with feral cats. I don’t feel from the birding community that people are really behind trap-and-kill–they just don’t want cats outdoors wreaking havoc. I hate seeing this issue come down to cat people vs. bird/wildlife people–if both sides could cooperate, maybe we could come up with new ideas for dealing with a very complicated problem…


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