Over the objections of PETA, Lawmakers in Pima County, Arizona (Tucson area) approved a trap, neuter & release (TNR) program to reduce the overall number of feral cats while preventing existing cats from being euthanized. In a letter to the County’s Board of Supervisors, PETA encouraged the County to euthanize feral cats on the grounds that they are not meant to live outdoors; they prey on wildlife; and they send a message to it’s okay for humans to abandon their pets. PETA also says that euthanasia is less painful than the deaths experienced by cats in the street.
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I know I open up a can of (faux) worms when I ask this question, but are some feral cats better off being killed in a shelter than sent back into inhospitable and dangerous streets where their demise could be far more painful or where they are they abused by people? Do they depend on the kindness of strangers for food, only to be neglected? Do they prey on local wildlife? Does their presence give people license to abandon their own cats, as PETA claims? Does the presence of feral cats give people license to abandon their cats? I don’t know. What I do know is that we are reckless and cruel by domesticating animals and then tossing them out into the street like garbage when taking care of them becomes inconvenient. I also know is that we must continuously remind the general public to spay and neuter companion animals and adopt from shelters instead of buying from pet stores and breeders.