It's a nicely worded response, but I really wish they hadn't focused so much on this idea:
The study conveniently sidestepped the primary culprit of decline of wildlife populations which, of course, is human activity including habitat destruction.
Because this turns it into a sort of either/or we'd never accept as logical in any other area of life.
For example, by far more humans are killed in car crashes than airline disasters. That said, when we get on an airplane, we would not accept that there's no need for quality standards because the auto industry is the real
killer. We would instead insist on being kept as safe as possible no matter what mode of transport we choose.
Yes, humans are
the biggest destroyer of birds, but cats are hard on bird populations too. We have to remember that 1.) addressing different causes at the same time are not mutually exclusive, and 2.) the introduction of non-native wildlife is part
of the habitat destruction humans cause, not a separate issue.
So yeah, I honestly find that part of the response a bit of a sidestep too.
Now mind you, I don't
think that killing
the cats is the answer!
However, if we simply deny that there's a problem, we're not giving much credence to there being a need for alternate solutions to it, so the general public is going to think that killing cats is
the only viable solution.
I think TNR works. In most places, it needs more funding; everyone would benefit from it because the environment would benefit from it.
I also think that in cases where the issue is cat colonies overlapping with bird habitats, we can think more in terms of trap-neuter-relocate. Rather than killing them, the cats can be moved to an area where they would be less harmful or (in an area with a vermin problem) even beneficial.
I think we need more cat sanctuaries, where cats who aren't socialized enough to be pets can live out their days in an enclosed, protected area where they don't have access to endangered wildlife and humans with cruel intentions have no access to them either.
I think we as a general public need to remember that "feral" is a state of socialization, not a hereditary condition, and work on getting people to accept the kittens of feral mothers as pets and separating socialized strays from feral colonies.
There's a lot that can be done - and a whole lot that people are already doing - that helps feral cats and the environment at the same time. It seems to me that minimizing the harm that feral cats can cause to the ecosystem actually reduces
the willingness of governments and the public to fund those efforts, though, because cat supporters are in a sense arguing against our own needs.