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It s the CATS not the CAP

Euroserf notes that " BirdLifes scientific studies from the last 30 years have shown that 70% of the 173 different priority bird species which are dependent on farmland habitats in Europe are endangered. This dramatic decline is clearly associated with the Common Agricultural Policy which over the last 40 years has stimulated changes in land use in Europe that have had a devastating effect on bird populations, other wildlife and natural habitats.

Now the CAP is a BAD thing for many reasons -though helping me pay off my mortgage means it has at least one redeeming feature - but killing the songbirds? - modern agriculture wherever doesn't help - that is nothing to do with CAP just progress. But CAP reform means that there is money for providing for the birdies - I have just trousered 10k for various schemes to make the Castle more environmentally friendly last year, it is more profitable and fun farming wildlife than wheat I have discovered. So beat the CAP for its sins but leave Jenny Wren out of it.

A real villain is elsewhere - one without any redeeming features at all (though no politician will go after it...

It is a fact that the single most devastating killer of small birds is the domestic cat. Something like 100,000,000 small birds are killed by dear pussy on an annual basis.

Put a collar and a bell on every domestic cat in the country.

This is the primary objective of the Save Our Songbirds Society. All paid up members of the Society will be given a set of collars and bells to give away to their cat loving friends, and a sheaf of leaflets explaining the benefits to wildlife that will accrue from this endeavour.

There is a lot of nonsense talked by those who should know better. The Magpie is a well known raider of eggs and chicks, is now said not to endanger small birds. The Sparrow Hawk is a merciless killer of the vanishing Song Thrush and Blackbird and has doubled in numbers but is unassailable.
The Harrier - reported in the Langholm
Report to have killed 956 Meadow Pipits on two moors alone in a year, not to mention all the grouse, is protected from cull. The Peregrine Falcon, the Goshawk Hawk, are all afforded blanket protection at the expense of the songbird. This madness must cease. Of course it is possible to have a good population of avian predators, but when their numbers swell to the disadvantage of all around them, then something must be done.


I will not argue with someone whose day to day life gives them a better view of the evil that is the CAP. But I couldn't resist adding another sin to its many.

You are of course correct that all cats should have bells. I am sick of animal lovers whose inappropriate behaviour adds to the destruction of wildlife.

"Something like 100,000,000 small birds are killed by dear pussy on an annual basis."

Any chance of some sort of supporting reference?

(Hint - the plural of "anecdote" is not "data")


Predation of wildlife by domestic cats in Great Britain

To be published in Mammal Review


A questionnaire survey of the numbers of animals brought home by domestic cats Felis catus was conducted between 1st April and 31st August 1997. A total of 14370 prey items were brought home by 986 cats living in 618 households. Mammals made up 69% of the items, birds 24%, amphibians 4%, reptiles 1%, fish <1%, invertebrates 1% and unidentified items 1%. A minimum of 44 species of wild bird, 20 species of wild mammal, 3 species of reptile and 3 species of amphibian were recorded.
Of a sample of 696 individual cats, 634 (91%) brought home at least one item and the back-transformed mean number of items brought home by was 11.3 (95% CI 10.4-12.2). The back-transformed means and number of cats retrieving at least one item from each prey group were: 8.1 (7.4-8.9) mammals for 547 (79%) cats, 4.1 (3.8-4.5) birds for 506 (73%) cats, 2.6 (1.8-2.7) herpetofauna for 145 (21%) cats and 2.2 (1.8-2.7) other items for 98 (14%) cats.
The number of birds and herpetofauna brought home per cat was significantly lower in households that provided food for birds. The number of bird species brought home was greater in households providing bird food. The number of birds and herpetofauna brought home per cat was negatively related to the age and condition of the cat. The number of mammals brought home per cat was significantly lower when cats were equipped with bells and when they were kept indoors at night. The number of herpetofauna brought home was significantly greater when cats were kept in at night.
Based on the proportion of cats bringing home at least one prey item and the back-transformed means, a British population of approximately 9 million cats was estimated to have brought home in the order of 92 (85-100) million prey items in the period of this survey, including 57 (52-63) million mammals, 27 (25-29) million birds and 5 (4-6) million reptiles and amphibians.

Artificial Intelligence is no match for natural stupidity. Unknown

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