Monday, January 25, 2016

CAT WORLD - Strays

"Why activists are fighting over feral felines" PBS NewsHour 1/22/2016


SUMMARY:  With an estimated 80 million feral cats in communities across the United States, there is growing a controversy on how to deal with them.  Euthanizing cats has been the traditional approach, but many animal rights activists believe that approach is cruel and inhumane.  Adithya Sambamurthy of "Reveal" for the Center for Investigative Reporting has the story.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  And now a story about cats, not the ones living in homes, but stray and feral cats that live outside.

By some estimates, there are 80 million feral cats in this country.  And the question of how to control them is sparking controversy.  Animal rights activists, who want to save stray cats, say there is an alternative to euthanizing feral cats, a method they say will control the cat population that’s more humane and effective.  But will it work.

Adithya Sambamurthy from our partner “Reveal” at the Center for Investigative Reporting has the story.

ADITHYA SAMBAMURTHY, Reveal:  Americans have long been obsessed with cats in commercials, cartoons and, of course, on the Internet.

But for every cat in our homes, there’s a stray one on the loose, roaming parking lots, alleyways, fields and backyards.  They’re everywhere, and, increasingly, it’s a problem.

Take Antioch, California, about 40 miles east of San Francisco.  The town is home to about 17,000 strays, one cat for every six citizens.

At the local animal shelter, Monika Helgemo is overwhelmed.

MONIKA HELGEMO, Animal Shelter:  This one’s here obviously is saying, pet me, pet me.  This cat here, see the ears go back?  That’s a feral cat.

ADITHYA SAMBAMURTHY:  Feral cats like this one are basically wild animals, and so they’re not candidates for adoption.

MONIKA HELGEMO:  We will do what we can and see if we can find a place for her and go live her life.  If not, we’re going to end up having to put her to sleep, euthanize her.

ADITHYA SAMBAMURTHY:  Antioch is typical.  There are an estimated 80 million stray and feral cats in the U.S.  Traditionally, the only way to deal with this overpopulation was to euthanize them.  More than a million cats are killed in animal shelters every year.  And that’s made some cat lovers so mad, they have gotten organized.

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