Thursday, February 28, 2013
When species are hated
I don't really have a decent amount of time to think about this post. However when I put something off to "post later" I often forget to post anything at all, or I lose track of the link.
This article about the hatred of the wolf by some conservationists drew a surprising parallel in my mind to the hatred of cats by a small but very vocal group of conservationists.
I'm not talking about the valid discussion about whether cats should be outdoors or not. Obviously, in a best possible world, all cats would be safe and loved in vibrant and perfect indoor homes, with supervised-only access to the outdoors. We aren't in a perfect world and we never will be.
But this essayist attempts to tackle the issue of the desire among some "conservationists" to irrationally advocate the destruction of an entire species. While I absolutely do not think the parallels are exact, I do find the similarity compelling. I honestly feel that even if TNR was proven to work--with published results---in every situation in which is was utilized, and we could verify without question that the number of outdoor cats was decreasing, there would still be angry, vocal people who would despise cats in the name of conservation.
I was on the phone today with a representative of a national advocacy group, and we talked for a moment about valid "outdoor cat" concerns versus the simple hatred of cats. It's a tough thing to address publicly, because anyone who might suggest that "You know, the issue here is that you just dislike cats" sounds like the speaker is dismissing the seriousness of the issue, as well as the seriousness of those who are legitimately concerned about the impact of outdoor cats on other animals.
Yet clearly, reading this wolf article, there are species besides cats that are NOT non-native, that are NOT "pets gone wild" and that DO belong in the wild...and nonetheless they are in some cases hated and viewed as a threat, and even, dare I say, viewed as trash. These are my words...not the author's.
I think perhaps that by examining the persecution of "legitimately wild" species, we might be able to understand, a little bit better, those certain over-the-top and irrational efforts we have recently run into where the persecution of cats is also promoted in a manner that seems beyond logical. At some point we need to understand why some anti-cat public statements sound less like conservation, and more like hatred and hysteria. It may in fact be...because they are.