Target: Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Goal: Don’t allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to secretly demand the mass killing of feral cats in local communities
Staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are allegedly secretly demanding that local communities perform mass killings of feral cats, despite the fact that they have no official position on the issue of free roaming cats. The USFWS has no right to promote unsanctioned policy in local communities and must be stopped.
Many studies have been done that indicate the effectiveness of community cat programs that employ trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs to humanely reduce the population of feral cats over time. TNR involves setting humane traps in feral cat communities, spaying or neutering the cats and returning them to their communities. Fixing the animals not only reduces disease and aggressive behavior, it also prevents them from continuing to reproduce.
Despite the fact that the USFWS continues to have no official position on the issue of feral cats, policymakers in Escambia County, Florida, recently received a letter on official letterhead of the USFWS stating that “the agency strongly opposes free-roaming, domestic or feral cats” and TNR programs. The letter also threatened legal action if the county does not “eliminate” feral cats, according to Best Friends Animal Society. Because of the letter, county officials removed the community cat program from an upcoming meeting’s agenda at the last minute. According to Best Friends Animal Society, this is not the first time the USFWS has interfered with local community cat programs.
Not only does this interference threaten the lives of feral cats nationwide, it also takes away the agency’s accountability to the public. If USFWS officials were to create an official policy, they would legally be required to inform the public and provide the opportunity for public input, commentary and discussion. Demand that authorities call for an audit of the USFWS by the Government Accountability Office and force agency staff to immediately stop imposing unsanctioned policies in local communities.
Dear Secretary Jewell,
I am extremely concerned about reports that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials have secretly imposed unsanctioned policies regarding free-roaming, or feral, cats in local communities.
The USFWS has no official position on the issue of feral cats, but policymakers in local communities—such as Escambia County, Florida–have allegedly received letters on official USFWS letterhead stating the agency “strongly opposes” feral cats and trap-neuter-return programs that humanely reduce the feral cat population over time. These letters reportedly threaten legal action if the communities do not “eliminate,” or institute mass inhumane killings of feral cats.
This secret activity threatens the lives of feral cats across the country and also takes away the public’s right to be informed of agency policies and offer input before policies are created. If the USFWS legally created an official policy regarding feral cats, the public must be notified and given the opportunity for input, commentary and discussion.
I urge you to request a USFWS audit by the Government Accountability Office and force agency staff to immediately cease promoting unsanctioned policies regarding feral cats in local communities.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons