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Press Release

For Immediate Release: August 15, 2013
Contact: VAISHALI HONAWAR, or (240) 482-2580

Researchers include president of American Bird Conservancy, which has called for continued killing of cats

BETHESDA, MD—Alley Cat Allies, the nation’s largest advocacy organization for cats, says a new review in the journal Zoonoses and Public Health that calls for eradicating feral cats is biased and grossly exaggerates the potential rabies threat from cats.

Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies, also questioned the objectivity of the study whose seven authors include George Fenwick, president of the American Bird Conservancy, an organization that has launched repeated attacks on cats. Five of the remaining authors are employed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and one is employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Data presented in the study do not support the call for killing cats and contradict the CDC’s own research: according to the federal agency, there has been no confirmed cat-to-human rabies transmission in nearly 40 years.

“This is fearmongering, and it can have disastrous consequences for cats,” Robinson said. “Frankly, I am flummoxed that the American Bird Conservancy is included on a rabies prevention study. It also makes no sense that the review includes a totally unrelated section on feral cats and wildlife.”

The review, she added, calls for repeating mistakes of the past, like catch and kill, a program that animal control has used for more than a century and that has failed miserably to reduce the population of cats. Catch and kill is also expensive, costing counties and cities millions of taxpayer dollars each year for killing innocent animals.

“I am disappointed with the study,” said Robert Weedon, DVM, MPH, visiting clinical instructor at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois. “Not only does it ignore published evidence that Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return can be effective, the authors do not give any meaningful alternatives to help control reproduction in community cats.”

The study also deliberately discounts the effectiveness of Trap-Neuter -Return (TNR) programs. TNR, where cats are humanely trapped, spayed/neutered and vaccinated, and then returned to their colonies, has been extremely effective in stabilizing and reducing cat populations in several colonies across the United States. A study from Alley Cat Allies earlier this year found that there has been a sea change in how local governments view TNR: more than 330 counties and cities across the United States now endorse or embrace TNR, a 10-fold increase over the past decade.

“Truth is, rabies vaccines are considered a standard and immensely valuable element of TNR programs and the authors’ statement is a deliberate misrepresentation of information put out by Alley Cat Allies,” Robinson said.

Visit to learn more about outdoor cats and why TNR is the only humane and effective program to stabilize and reduce outdoor cat populations. The site also debunks common myths surrounding outdoor cats and wildlife.


About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has nearly half a million supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Their web site is