The evil that rubs up against us and purrs
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 5:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 5:28 p.m.
Former President George W. Bush’s dog Barney has gone to that great kennel club in the sky.
In fact, government-affiliated scientists have produced statistical proof of feline perfidy, in a new study showing that cats stalk and kill 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals in the United States each year, give or take a few billion.
Scientific though it may be, the report is not irony-free. It brands cats an
In my book, that means every time a cat takes out one of those winged pests, it’s a case of justifiable avicide.
But never mind that.
I don’t think they’re talking about federally subsidized tummy rubs.
Some environmentalists think that euthanasia may be the only way to prevent an uncontrolled killer-cat population from ravaging wildlife, given the absence of a natural predator.
Others recoil at mass cat-killing to cure mass bird-killing. Some animal welfare advocates think the solution is to sterilize feral cats and then release them. A variant is to rehabilitate freshly neutered or spayed stray felines as
Our frontier ancestors surely would have marveled at a society so civilized and affluent that it can indulge in such quarrels. And arguments don’t crop up only in the context of cat vs. bird. Controversy rages in the D.C. area about how to control Rock Creek Park’s population of white-tailed deer. The National Park Service recommends a hunt to cull the herd, but critics favor strictly non-lethal means, such as mass administration of contraceptives.
For my part, I don’t have a dog in any of these fights. My only semi-serious point is that it is much easier to declare one’s concern for animals, their welfare and even their rights than to act on that concern in a logical, consistent manner. When it comes to moral reasoning about animals, we’re all sort of chasing our tails.
Science can help describe issues and inform debate. But it still takes human judgment, leavened by instinct and intuition, to balance the interests of the various species affected
Mietzi feels better when we feed her tuna, ground up and packed into a little can with a convenient pop-top lid. I’m pretty sure it’s dolphin-safe.
Charles Lane is a member of
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