The Smithsonian claims that outdoor cats (feral and pet) are a serious danger to birds. They even seem to suggest (subtly) that TNR be abandoned and that TNR supporters are unknowingly killing birds.
Alley Cat Allies claims that loss of habitat and increased human activities are a far greater danger to birds than cats ever will be.
Both sides were posting on twitter in a way that made me, as a supporter of both organizations, feel a bit awkward.
My take? They need to work together. Alley Cat Allies should push hard for cat parents to keep their kitties indoor only, with a strong push at suburban areas where the Smithsonian claims birds are being killed most often. The Smithsonian, instead of trying to claim that TNR is ineffective (without any research to back this up) because it requires a 70% saturation in a colony, should actually make a push for strong TNR. Help people trap kitties, donate the time of the zoo vets to assist with the spay/neuter surgeries. Maybe the two could even have a cross-promotion where for every cat owner who signs a pledge to keep her cat indoors-only and makes a donation to a special fund (half going to TNR, half going to songbird rehab and research), people can attend a special event at the Smithsonian zoo to learn about big cats.
Essentially, it seems ridiculous to me that two organizations that care about animals can’t find a way to come together and find ways to support each other and all animals.
Admittedly, this is part of a larger frustration with “opposing” sides refusing to associate with or listen to each other. Imagine what could happen if good, small breeders stood with the HSUS and started supporting bans against puppy mills? If Peta listened to small farmers and found ways to improve the lives of animals on farms? As I said before, if animals can come together, why can’t we?