feral cats and immigration (The Age)

To: "Jeremy O'Wheel" <>
Subject: feral cats and immigration (The Age)
From: Andrew Thelander <>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2013 16:28:23 +1100
The report Jeremy quoted from dates from 1996. It is referred to in Franklin's 
2006 book along with similar comments from the likes of Tim Flannery. If there 
is a more up to date summary of the state of the science, it would be good to 
post it here for all to read.

Franklin is an anthropologist/sociologist and I don't believe his thesis is 
that you are a racist if you are worried about feral cats. On the last page of 
his book, he writes "the metaphor of nature has always been played dangerously 
in human politics, and never more so than when it is tied to vigorous forms of 
nationalism." I think he would say that what is at stake in this area is the 
potential mis-application of public funds on a grand scale trying to eradicate 
a creature that is here to stay without any reasonable certainty that its 
eradication/control will achieve the desired goal. I think it's a sensible 

What we need to achieve first, however, is to get our politicians to the point 
where they are happy to spend any money at all on wildlife matters. Look how 
slow and skimpy they have been to fund efforts at saving the Tassie devil!!  
And some of us seem to think they'll pay the bill for a cat eradication 
campaign across the whole continent??  Time for a reality check, folks.

On 08/01/2013, at 3:55 PM, Jeremy O'Wheel wrote:

> Yeah, he's definitely wide of the mark - his conclusion is because there
> isn't good evidence, therefore there isn't a problem, but the lack of good
> evidence is due to a lack of studies, not due to studies that exonerate
> cats.  As the expression goes - absence of evidence is not evidence of
> absence.   In this case we do know cats cause big problems in small and
> isolated environments, and among some specific prey.  We just don't whether
> cats cause a general problem outside of those specific areas, or how big a
> problem that is.
> What's even worse about the article though is the absurd suggestion that
> people think cats have a negative impact on the environment because they're
> racists who dislike immigrants.  That's crap, especially since there are so
> many places around the world where cats been demonstrated to have
> significant negative impacts on the environment.  Everybody concerned about
> the environment should worry about the impact of cats, and it's clearly not
> racist to do so.
> Jeremy
> On Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 3:39 PM, pbrooks <>wrote:
>> That's a pretty old report you've dug up there, Jeremy.  Regardless, I
>> think you're letting this guy off lightly with 'fallacy of argument'.  The
>> words 'feral cat has been exonerated' are a fib to aid a weak premise at
>> best and, at worst, a deliberate misrepresentation of scientific literature
>> (from a professor, no less!).  You want people to pass judgement based on
>> the current state of scientific research; if so, you have to agree that
>> he's wide of the mark.


To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU