About this Research Topic
A decade ago, Sheilah Robertson, in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, recognized that there was a clear, evolutionary trend in global thinking and advocacy about free-roaming cat management, moving away from lethal culling to relocation and to TNVR (trap-neuter-vaccinate-return). Robertson argued, however, that while in some local circumstances the available data “support the success of TNR in reducing cat populations….to have a large impact it will have to be adopted on a far greater scale than it is currently practiced.” In the period intervening, advocacy of TNVR has remained strong particularly, but not exclusively, among local, national and international animal welfare NGOs, and in developed countries. However, there is some evidence, that in countries where free-roaming cats pose a substantial threat to native species, a reversion to lethal culling and perhaps even to the complete extermination of free-roaming cats is being seriously contemplated as a matter of national policy. Promoting such a policy appears to ignore the potential for effective TNVR activities and it fails to account for public sentiment in favor of a more compassionate approach. Further, experience in the developing world still appears to be essentially tabula rasa.
The time is ripe to (re)assess what we have learned about TNVR in the decade since Robertson published her review. What does the latest and most reliable research and intelligence tell us about the viability and success of TNVR, and its variants, in various parts of the world, as we look toward a brighter and more humane future for free-roaming cats? How do we promote compassionate free-roaming cat management not just in the developed world but in developing countries, too? What has been done and what can be done at both the community and national levels to strengthen the origination and long-term sustainability of TNVR? And what changes have occurred in the way veterinarians, and veterinary educators, and veterinary associations perceive, teach, and practice TNVR?
Keywords: Free-roaming cats, TNVR, Compassionate conservation, Animal ethics, Animal control and management
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