The article in the age by Adrian Franklin is not untypical of the
approach taken by some people in certain social science disciplines to
issues grounded in natural science. Their view of society is a lens
that they use to interpret phenomena.
In this case, opposition to non-native species is seen to be analogous
to opposition to multiculturalism / immigration by different ethnic
groups. As such feral animal control is equated to racism ...
A point that Franklin conveniently overlooks is that the people who
are racists are quite likely to own non-native pets, and indeed to own
pets that are likely to prey on native species. I suspect they are
also more likely to abandon or otherwise manage their pets in ways
that they contribute to feral populations ...
On 08/01/2013, at 3:28 PM, Andrew Thelander wrote:
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 point.
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
isn't good evidence, therefore there isn't a problem, but the lack
evidence is due to a lack of studies, not due to studies that
cats. As the expression goes - absence of evidence is not evidence
absence. In this case we do know cats cause big problems in small
isolated environments, and among some specific prey. We just don't
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
people think cats have a negative impact on the environment because
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
the environment should worry about the impact of cats, and it's
racist to do so.
On Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 3:39 PM, pbrooks <
That's a pretty old report you've dug up there, Jeremy.
think you're letting this guy off lightly with 'fallacy of
words 'feral cat has been exonerated' are a fib to aid a weak
best and, at worst, a deliberate misrepresentation of scientific
(from a professor, no less!). You want people to pass judgement
the current state of scientific research; if so, you have to agree
he's wide of the mark.
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