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AVMAs updated feral and free-roaming cats policy comes with emphasis on collaboration
As no consensus was reached after two years of discussion between groups on how to humanely reduce the populations of these cats, AVMA encourages more research.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) updated its policy on free-roaming abandoned and feral cats noting there is not one “single solution” to reduce the free-roaming and feral cat population. The revamped policy aims to encourage collaboration between veterinarians, humane groups and wildlife conservation agencies in efforts to reduce these cat populations in a humane and ethical manner, according to an association release.
Joseph Kinnarney, DVM, AVMA president, states that the policy was the result of effort to represent the diverse viewpoints related to these cat populations “The revised policy represents iterative progress toward resolving the free-roaming abandoned and feral cat problem, while recognizing that there is currently not consensus around what an ultimate solution will look like,” he says in the release. “It also points to the veterinary profession as a key player in developing approaches that are both science-based and socially responsible.”
Broad policy language emphasizes that consideration should be given to “the welfare of the cats and wildlife themselves, the ecosystem in which the intervention will be conducted, the expertise and abilities of those implementing the intervention, societal and cultural attitudes and public health.”
A key component of the policy encourages research into the following:
> Developing an environmentally safe and effective oral or parental contraceptive vaccine.
> Determining efficacy of current models and developing new methods for management of free?roaming abandoned and feral cats.
> Learning more about the health of free?roaming abandoned and feral cats.
> Determining the origin of free?roaming abandoned and feral cats such as animal abandonment by the public.
> Better defining the impact of free?roaming cats on native wildlife populations.
The AVMA House of Delegates approved the update during its regular winter session on Jan. 9, and the approval was the result of more than two years of discussion between a range of stakeholders, including the AVMA's Animal Welfare Committee, Committee on Environmental Issues and Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine, as well as others that have feline, avian and wildlife expertise, the release states.