Hunting Feral Cats may Become Legal in New JerseyPublished April 20, 2010
I was shocked the other day when I ran across an article recently published by TheDailyRecord.com. While it is almost impossible to comprehend, it appears that the New Jersey Fish and Game Council are not only strongly against the presence of feral cats in the state, but New Jersey officials are debating about a possible reclassification of feral cats. This reclassification would permit hunters to shoot feral cats with guns or arrows the same as any game animal. What makes their idea even more ludicrous and upsetting is that "indoor-outdoor" cats with loving homes will also become vulnerable to destruction. In May 2007, members of the state Fish and Game Council voted unanimously on a resolution that feral cats do not belong in the wild. Additionally back in 2007, according to council minutes, Jeannette Vreeland, the acting Chair of the Fish and Game Council proposed that cats be added to the list of animals permitted to be hunted. She defended the 2007 resolution, last week. If a change in the status of feral cats occurs, it would effectively end the increasing numbers of groups which presently efficiently run the successful Trap/Neuter/Spay and Return programs in the state and through legalized hunting, potentially eradicate the population of feral cats. This seems to me to be highly reprehensible and in fact, points in the direction of promoting cruelty to animals TNR programs are quite effective in many towns in New Jersey, including Netcong and Mount Olive. Some feral cats are suitable for placement in adoptive homes, and some of the cats are released back into the wild. According to reports these programs are cost effective since the expense of catching a cat, housing it for a required seven days, and euthanizing it if not claimed, can reach $100.00. Of course several animal rights activists have already contacted state officials in protest of this considered reclassification. Michelle Lerner, working with the Animal Protection League of New Jersey last summer, who helped start a TNR program in Mount Olive said, "Nothing has happened or been proposed so far. We are trying to work with state agencies to make sure this ridiculous proposal does not see the light of day.'' Earlier this month the department of Environmental Protection received a letter from the Humane Society of the United States, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal Protection League and other groups protesting any potential actions which would lead to the reclassification of cats. Therefore if hunting feral cats as "wildlife" becomes legal, it would also legitimize the use of their fur in the manufacture of clothing, fur collars and many other items. Additionally cat meat could become a legal produce under the term, "venison." While cat meat is still consumed throughout China and many other Asian countries, here in the United States the practice is considered odious. If feral cats are actually reclassified as considered, the ramification for what I consider to be an unthinkable action is infinite. This idea is simply madness, don't you think? Leave a comment and share your opinion.