By Katie Kieffer
President Obama owns two adorable dogs, Bo and Sunny. Clearly, he likes animals. So, it’s puzzling why his administration supports global environmental polices and federally-subsidized energy technology that endangers animals like cats and birds.
Sadness and anger echoed around the world when an American dentist shot Cecil the lion, a protected animal, in Zimbabwe. But where is the shock and disappointment over the fact that Australia plans to spend some $6 million to shoot, poison and trap 2 million feral cats? And why has the Obama administration applauded Australia’s plans while making a big show of seeking justice for Cecil?
I support hunting as a wildlife conservation method that treats animals with dignity. However, Australia’s plan does not fall into this category because hunting is not effective for managing feral cat populations. Additionally, our administration is sending the unhealthy message that some cats—namely “celebrity” cats like Cecil—deserve more attention than non-celebrity feral cats that help keep rodent populations in check.
“By 2020, I want to see 2 million feral cats culled, five new islands and 10 new mainland areas as ‘safe havens,’ free of feral cats, and control measures applied across 10 million hectares,” said Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt upon announcing Australia’s plan.
John Berry, the U.S. ambassador to Australia, was present during Hunt’s announcement. Berry took the time to laud Australia’s “leadership position” on wildlife preservation. Meanwhile, another representative of the Obama administration led a global investigation to protect one particular cat:
“USFWS is investigating the tragic killing of #CecilTheLion. Will go where facts lead. Efforts to contact Dr. Palmer so far unsuccessful,” tweeted U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe on July 30.
Many experts believe that the most effective and caring way to manage a feral cat population is through a process of “trap, neuter and return” (TNR). Disneyland in California has successfully employed TNR for over a decade. By managing the cats instead of killing them en-masse, Disneyland has been able to keep mice (the non-Mickey kind!) in check.
TNR is effective for two reasons: cats are very territorial and they also breed very quickly. Indeed, according to North Shore Animal League America, one unneutered male and one unneutered female cat and her offspring can be responsible for the production of 2,000 kittens in the course of four years. If cats are removed from their territory and killed—whether that territory is Brooklyn, New York or Sydney, Australia—new cats will move in and claim this territory and begin breeding.
Obama’s administration wants it both ways. They want to appear concerned about Cecil’s death while pandering to an ally like Australia as it culls two million cats.
Obama claims “we may not be able to reverse” the damage of climate change without his EPA’s new “green” rules that force coal-burning power plants to cut greenhouse gases. His rules will force Americans to rely more heavily on wind and solar technology, which kills scores of birds every year.
The world’s largest solar thermal project, Ivanpah, reportedly kills two birds every minute in the California Mojave Dessert. Nevada’s Crescent Dunes Solar Project is another bird-killer. “Over a six-hour period, biologists counted 130 ‘streamers,’ or trails of smoke and water left behind as birds ignited and plummeted to their deaths,” reports PopSci. Assuming 100 birds die every 6 hours, just one solar project is capable of killing 146,097 birds every year!
Obama may argue that the process of producing coal power kills more birds than the production of solar or wind power. But when you combine the estimated number of birds killed by wind turbines and solar power—it is about equal to the number allegedly killed by coal production. And that’s before we have built the number of wind and solar projects necessary to meet Obama’s new standards. Soon, wind and solar technology will kill more birds than we now kill by producing coal. If coal is “dirty,” then wind and solar are filthy.
By the way, coal provides 39% of American energy needs at very affordable rates. Politicians craving public approval fail to mention that their beloved green tech is unaffordable for poor Americans. Obama’s new rules do not deserve the classification of “green,” or “clean” because they harm animals and people alike.
I recently saw an article in Salon claiming that Bernie Sanders “out-greens” Hillary Clinton. If you want to know which presidential candidate is the greenest, consider whether their ideas will help or harm the weakest members of our world, such as impoverished human beings, cats and birds. Much of the so-called “green” movement is actually “red” because it causes animals—feathered, furry and human—to die prematurely.