How do you usually react to stray cats? Do you want to give them food, or do you try to avoid them? The former regards animals as one of the precious creatures, and they argue that people have to feed a cat and provide safe shelter to them. However, the latter asserts that stray cats harm city landscape while causing noise pollution, and they express voices of dissent about giving food to them.
The reason why this controversy becomes hot potato is due to a rapid increase in stray cats’ population. According to statistical research, the number of stray cats is estimated at about 300,000 only in Seoul. Moreover, about 5,000 stray cats are killed on the road per year, and there are much more stray cats killed because of other causes like malnutrition or diseases. Cats can breed up to six bi-monthly. However, it is common that these cats die within three years in poor conditions such as tough competition for food. This data shows that not a simple increase in population but the cats’ surroundings contribute to their rate of death. In this situation, the business of neutralizing surgery for stray cats is introduced on a national scale.
TNR is a business conducted by Trapping, Neutralizing, and Releasing the stray cats. It helps stray cats live in safe conditions. Many people agree with this business, but the opposite is no fewer than the former. People who agree with TNR emphasize the aspect of maintaining the number of population by regulating the geometrical reproduction of stray cats. They also said that it is a great advantage because it can prevent genital diseases which can occur if they are not neutralized. In other words, TNR contributes to improving the cats’ quality of life and coexistence with a human.
In response to this, people who disagree with TNR argue that it is not a fundamental solution. They said that TNR is only based on human-centric thought to rationalize incapacitating the cat’s gender. If the cats are sick, what they need is not a castration but a cure. Unlike dogs, neutralized cats can have trauma which may lead to maladjustment in society since cats have the features of wild animals.
According to a survey with KNUE students, it shows that 58 percent of students are supporting the TNR, and 42 percent of students are opposing the TNR. The maintenance of the population is considered as the biggest reason for supporting TNR (62.3%), and prevention of disease and keeping city landscape are followed as the next reasons. On the contrary, animal cruelty is regarded as the biggest reason for opposing TNR (80%), and side effects and a waste of tax come as other reasons.
According to the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, TNR is expanded every year with more investigation bringing positive outcomes. However, this business is also criticized because it is applied to solve a civil complaint, not for the original purpose of saving stray cats. Many experts say that this business has to be revised in order to make human beings truly coexist with stray cats. As KNUE students who live with cats, what about trying to understand two extremes and find a helpful solution to make a comfortable environment for both human and cats?
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