AAHA criticizes Nebraska feral cat report

 The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has expressed concern over a recent report on feral cat management from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL).

The report describes feral cats as disease vectors and nuisance animals that cause significant damage to local wildlife and the local economy.

Among the feral cat management methods described in the report are trapping, snaring and "frightening devices." However, one of the frightening devices mentioned in the report is "dogs that are aggressive towards cats." The report even mentions shooting feral cats as a management method.

"Shooting is an efficient method to reduce populations of cats in specific areas," the report says. "Use shotguns with No. 6 shot or larger, .22 caliber rifles, or air rifles capable of shooting 700 feet per second or faster (inside 20 yards and with pointed pellets). Aim shots between the eyes or in the heart/lung area to ensure a humane death. Shooting in urban areas is a very sensitive matter as many safety factors need to be considered."

AAHA issued a statement this week decrying these methods as causing unnecessary pain and suffering to cats.

"As a veterinary association dedicated to the health and welfare of companion animals, it is shocking that a university publication would advocate shooting and the use of leg-hold traps as acceptable methods to control/exterminate free-roaming cats," AAHA said in a statement. "These methods are indiscriminate, inhumane and are unacceptable for the purpose of cat population management."

The report was published by the UNL Extension, and was written by personnel from the university’s School of Natural Resources and other non-veterinarians.

In its statement, AAHA invited the Division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UNL to speak with the AAHA Animal Welfare Taskforce on more humane and effective ways to manage feral cat populations.

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