A great way to make life better for Nova Scotia families

From Alley Cat Allies (http://www.alleycat.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=650)

New Scientific Study Finds Vast Majority of Pet Cats Are Neutered
Eighty percent of cats in U.S. households are neutered, according to a new, nationally representative study conducted by Alley Cat Allies and published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association, a leading peer-reviewed scientific journal.
The study, “Population characteristics and neuter status of cats living in households in the United States,” found that family income was the single strongest predictor of whether pet cats living in households are neutered. Over 90% of cats in households earning $35,000 or more per year were neutered, compared to 51% of cats in households earning less than $35,000.
These neuter rates are a cause for optimism: they indicate that neutering is an accepted, established practice among the large majority of Americans with pet cats. As a result, our nation’s pet cats are living healthier lives. Despite the disparity based on household income, it bears reemphasizing that the majority of pet cats living in households across all income levels are neutered.
The study was based on data collected by Harris Interactive for Alley Cat Allies and then analyzed by Alley Cat Allies using a rigorous statistical approach, and is the first nationally representative study to document that household income is positively associated with a cat’s neuter status.

Increasing Neuter Rates for Cats: Next Stop Stray and Feral Cats
When looking at the neuter rates of cats in U.S. households, it is important to remember that pet cats represent only a part of the entire U.S. cat population. Scientists estimate that there may be as many stray and feral cats in the United States as there are cats living in people’s homes. In contrast to the high neuter rate of pet cats, the most comprehensive research to date indicates that less than 3% of stray and feral cats are neutered.
The lives of all cats—pet, stray, and feral—are improved through neutering. This important new study underscores the need to recognize that most intact cats are stray and feral cats. And among lower income cat owners who responded to the study, cost was the most common reason cited for not neutering their pets. Expanding the accessibility and affordability of low-cost, high-volume spay and neuter programs is a critical step to increasing the neuter rate among both pet cats in lower income households as well as stray
and feral cats.
“[A]ny attempts to increase the proportion of neutered cats in the United States must include stray and feral cats.”
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2009; 234: 1023-1030, Chu K, Anderson WM, Rieser MY. Population Characteristics and Neuter Status of Cats Living in Households in the United States.
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Granted, Canada is a separate entity from the states, but we have enough cultural similarities to pay attention to this study. Especially when here in Nova Scotia, the 2006 Stats Can listed the average annual income in this province as being $659.02 a week which adds up to $34,269.04.
More than that of course is the fact that the survey highlights what cat advocates have known all along … that there is an appalling difference between the spay neuter rates for owned and for stray and feral cats. Neither do cat advocates need to see the survey to make the connection between family income and spay/neuter rates.
The plain unvarnished truth is that money won’t buy ya love, but its absolutely essential if one is to get the cat fixed.
Our new NDP government very likely already has the framework of its budget built and have made no secret of the fact that they intend to be more frugal than their predecessors. This would be a splendid time to remind them that it would be penny wise and pound foolish not to ante up a fair share of the funding for a provincial low cost high volume spay neuter program.
In a province where far too many folks have discovered that some essentials have been relegated to the ‘nice to have’ category of their personal budgets, the province can’t afford not to get the ball rolling for a good SNAP. Its important to remind anyone who will listen that concern for animal welfare creates healthier and safer communities.
Nor does it all have to be about the money. There are some pieces of legislation that would actually save money:
  • Banning the traffic of living breathing sentient beings in free online ad sites would very quickly reduce the number of pets that overburden AC’s and rescues around the province. THIS IS ALSO GOOD CONSUMER PROTECTION LEGISLATION
  • Implement mandatory breeder registration – gosh they might even scoop up an annual fee or two with that, eh? Once again, this is consumer protection legislation that would help the reputable breeders to ensure that breed standards are maintained properly
  • Introduce anti tethering legislation. Once again, this is not simply an animal welfare law but also a strong and effective way to improve public safety, especially for our children
  • Leave a lasting legacy by getting humane education into the public school system. Existing lesson plans and programs already exist, many of which have already been vetted by the SPCANS Education committee.

Do you notice a common theme throughout all that? It is of course that animal welfare legislation is never just for the animals. Anything that improves animal welfare will also create safer and healthier communities. If you don’t already have the addresses in your email,you can find your MLA at MembersConstituencies . Our new Premier and his Minister of Agriculture can be found in the Cabinet listing.

What time is it? Its time to for the animal loving community to let our new NDP government know that improving animal welfare is one of the most effective ways they can “make life better for Nova Scotia families”.

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