Published in The State Journal-Register on December 13, 2018.
The University of Illinois-Springfield has made a terrible error in judgement by stopping students, staff and residents from continuing an established Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program on campus. This policy will lead to cats being killed and should be immediately reversed.
TNR is the only humane and effective approach to community cat populations. Through TNR, outdoor cats are humanely caught, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and returned to their outdoor homes. Scientific studies show that TNR ends the breeding cycle, stabilizes cat populations, and improves their lives and the people around them. Many college campuses, such as Stanford University and Arizona State University-Tempe, have thriving TNR programs.
Unfortunately, the UIS policy is based on misperceptions about health and safety. A leading medical journal firmly contradicts this view. According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, “cats should not be thought of as vectors for disease transmission.” In truth, TNR is beneficial to public health because cats receive vaccinations and veterinary care that they wouldn’t otherwise.
Without TNR, cats will be taken to animal shelters where, being unsocialized and therefore unadoptable, they will likely ultimately be killed. Americans won’t stand for that. In a 2017 poll from Harris Interactive, 84 percent of Americans prefer that their community use tax dollars to adopt sterilization as its cat control policy instead of bringing cats found outdoors into shelters to be killed.
The cats, and the community at UIS, are better off with a TNR program. UIS must look at the facts and embrace this humane, effective program.
President and Founder of Alley Cat Allies