The underlying ethical dichotomy of the Nature Center “cat-astrophe” has been presented as human rights vs. animal rights. For instance, one stance has been: Must we humans be so unaccommodating as to force the displacement of another sentient being? Can’t the spirit of the law (if not the letter) and empathy coexist?

But in all the hubbub, the Nature Center’s raison d’être has been disregarded. Its prime directive is to protect and preserve the nature found at the center; that is, its primary concern should be for the wildlife it now holds dominion over.

Scientific research and common sense agree that one of the most devastating things that can happen to any ecosystem is to introduce into it a highly-evolved carnivorous predator, against which the locals have not had any opportunity to evolve any defenses. Sunny is renowned as a highly efficient killing machine, which serves the human desire to be rodent-free. But unlike humans, Sunny does not draw the line at mice. Surely she is just as efficient at exterminating the local birds, lizards, butterflies, et al.

So, the underlying ethical dichotomy should be re-framed as being between the humans and their hired assassin Sunny on the one hand, and the local, indigenous wildlife on the other hand.

One final note: I am so grateful to live in a place where the headline is about rescuing a cat rather than about the latest drive-by shooting.

Rick Barker