For the last few days, all of the cat-lovers (indeed, all of the compassionate people) of Ibiza have been on tenterhooks.
We got word that the Mayor of San Juan, in the north of Ibiza, had given permission for a cat-cull (a “trap and kill” initiative) to take place in the areas of San Juan, San Miguel, San Lorenzo and San Vicente, due to commence in the next few days.
My good friend and editor, Cat Milton, broke the news to me during a business lunch in San Juan as we both fussed over the sweet-looking fella pictured above. He posed perfectly for Cat to photograph him as the awful realisation dawned that, should this cull go ahead, he would be one of many to lose his life. He may not have a home, but he is well-loved by the locals, who feed him and look out for him. He is no nuisance…he is a member of the community.
Kind-hearted villagers took to the streets, putting collars on as many stray cats as they could…and Cat wrote the following open letter to the Mayor of San Juan:
“Open Letter to the Mayor of Sant Joan de Labritja
Cull of Feral Cats.
It has come to my attention within the last 24hrs that a ‘trap and kill’ initiative, aimed at the street and feral cats within your district is allegedly due to commence within the next week.
This cull is to include
– Sant Joan,
– Sant Miquel,
– Sant Vicent y,
– Sant Llorenc
Sir, firstly, if I may bring to your attention that a ‘trap and kill’ policy is known globally to be both
– a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.
Further, it is socially reprehensible, and completely lacking in compassion.
‘Trap and kill’ creates what is known as a ‘vacuum effect’ – other cats move into the space, breed to capacity and the entire problem repeats. This is a scientifically documented phenomenon. The Humane Society themselves released the following statement:
““We know now, that more than 30 years of trapping and killing cats has done nothing to reduce the feral cat population.”
The alternative is to implement the far more humane, compassionate, and financially responsible TNR program – Trap, Neuter and Return.
The Trap, Neuter and Return policy works effectively on a multitude of fronts –
Once TNR is in place, cats’ no-longer reproduce, ensuring the population stabilises and eventually reduces.
Mating behaviour is suspended ensuring a better relationship with residents – no more yowling, no more fighting.
The TNR program also allows for responsible education to take place, as residents can be advised about cat care and animal welfare.
Indeed, the island charity Care4Cats (http://www.care4catsibiza.com/ )has been actively undertaking this work since the year 2000. The charity has successfully neutered over 13,500 cats during this time – their compassionate and highly effective work only hampered by lack of funds.
In all the years of your governance of the District of Sant Joan de Labritja you’ve shown yourself to be socially conscious, compassionate and reactive to those under your care. I would argue that good use of taxpayers funds, compassion based on common good sense and scientifically proven programs is the way forward. I would also present for your consideration that the animals and animal welfare in your district is your responsibility too.
Trap, Neuter & Return benefits everyone. Trap and Kill benefits no-one.
PS. The cat pictured sits at the café where you often have your meetings. He was trapped, neutered and returned by Care4Cats in October 2013. He is much loved by the locals and it is ensured each and every lunchtime that he is fed. In his own way, he is part of the community, and you can be assured, his absence, particularly if put to death under your instruction will be felt keenly by the community you serve. We can take lives Sir, but once done, we can’t give life back.”
Cat had her letter translated into Spanish and Catalan and…well, it worked!!!! The Mayor saw sense, and there will be NO CAT CULL!!!!
We are rejoicing here with the stray cats of Ibiza
Just goes to show that, when we all join together, we really can make a difference. Not only for feral cats of Ibiza…but the world at large.
And we should never forget that!
Photo credit: Cat Milton