This letter to the editor is written in response to an article in the New York Times.
Re: “Australia Is Deadly Serious About Killing Millions of Cats,” (NYT Magazine, April 25):
Hats off to Ms. Aguirre for shining a spotlight on Australia’s state-sanctioned mass cat slaughter.
What, if anything, can justify a government unleashing untrained vigilantes with poison canisters and guns to kill two million cats in cold blood?
The answer is nothing. That is both the ethical conclusion, and the practical one.
Here’s why: except on small islands, it is impossible to achieve any lasting reduction in cat populations by killing cats. I realize that sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Cats reproduce too quickly, and nature abhors a vacuum. When cats are killed in a given area, cats from neighboring areas move in and reproduce.
Lethal cat control schemes not only result in huge numbers of dead cats, they also inadvertently kill many non-target animals, bring out the ugly side of humans and degrade the values of civil society. What they don’t do is help revive populations of endangered animals.
President and Founder
Alley Cat Allies
7920 Norfolk Ave. Suite 600
Bethesda, Md., 20814