Cat Fight at Audubon Corral

By: Amos S. Eno
Posted on:04/01/2013 Updated:04/23/2013

The National Audubon Society suspended, but has since reinstated, Ted Williams as writer of the independent Incite column for Audubon magazine in response to the controversial article he wrote on feral-cats as a Guest writer for the Orlando Sentinel.

Sometimes environmentalists are their own worst enemies, as my longtime friend Ted Williams discovered after an opinion article of his, entitled Trap, neuter, return programs make feral-cat problem worse was published in the Orlando Sentinel. Unfortunately, if you are now looking to read the article on the Orlando Sentinel’s webpage, you will not find the original version. Instead, you will see an updated article with a postscript, and without the most undeservedly villainized comments.
The article prompted a barrage of protest from ardent supporters of feral-cats, which kill over one billion birds a year, demanding that the National Audubon Society remove Williams’ Incite column from their magazine. In a knee-jerk reaction, Audubon did just that. They capitulated to a group that defends the direst threat to songbirds - feral-cats - while maintaining a mission “to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.”
I have been a Life member of National Audubon Society since age ten. I still have my framed Roger Tory Peterson print of whooping cranes on nest that came with my membership certificate in 1960, but upon hearing of Williams’ suspension I threw away my membership. The organization has been deteriorating since Russ Peterson conducted gross fiscal mismanagement as President. His successor, Peter Berle almost single handedly provided a coup de grace by trying to replace Audubon's eponymous egret with a black flag. Now Audubon's current President, David Yarnold, has suspended Ted Williams, the best nature writer in America and one of the only reasons I bother to glance at the Audubon magazine, for having the temerity to recommend feral-cats be euthanized, which should be a national conservation priority.
Talk about bird brained. What once was the best nature magazine in America is now just a poster board for a few state travel ads, including Wyoming, Florida and Texas, and a few binocular ads, with little substantive reporting.
We try to keep these blog posts positive, highlighting conservation stewardship success stories across America. It is a good thing I didn’t pull the trigger on this article when I first heard of Ted’s dismissal from Audubon’s masthead, so now we can positively acknowledge his reinstatement. Hopefully, Audubon will get back to protecting birds after their decades wandering through the brambles of God knows where.
Fortunately, I have resurrected my membership now that Williams’ Incite column has been reinstated. However, while Audubon’s recent decision to reverse Williams’ suspension is a resuscitative step in the right direction, it does not excuse their irrational and almost immediate surrender to the demands of feral-cat supporters. My old friend Herman McDevitt, a former state senator from Idaho, once stated the first law of political reality; “Often the jackasses are on your own team.”
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re: Cat Fight at Audubon Corral
By: Ted Williams on: 04/02/2013

It was a long week for me and Audubon, but I think we both did the right thing. Go to: