Longcore Refuses to Meet Scientists Re His Recommendation to Kill Ferals

Longcore of Urban Wildlands refuses to meet with feral cat colony advocates. He says it’s a waste of time, his mind is made up. He wants cats “removed” from the urban environment.

Epidemiologist feral cat advocate to Travis Longcore:

I don't know what the City will do next.  But as I said in my previous email, I would be happy to discuss with you the evidence regarding the possible environmental and public health impact of managed feral cat colonies and the effects of TNR programs.

Longcore’s response:

I appreciate your offer of discussing the literature, but I doubt that it would be particularly fruitful.  My colleagues and I have given this a great deal of thought over many years and it is likely we come at this issue from a different perspective than you do.  It is unlikely that either of us will change each others minds about the underlying value judgements that inform any decision about how to manage feral cats.  

I repeat, longcore’s solution of removing 50% of the feral cat population is a demand for death for over 1,000,000 cats in Los Angeles and double that in the County.

Tell Mr. Longcore what you think of him. Urban Wildlands has gotten off scott-free in the process, and the City and Ed Boks took the fall when they promoted TNR.

(310) 247-9719

9401 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 1250

Beverly Hills, CA 90212-2945
(310) 273-7474


Anonymous said...

It certainly seems clear that his only idea for "managing feral cats" is to kill them.

It's pretty weird that he doesn't even try to mask it with any pretense of feeling regret or looking for non-lethal options. Does he think all birds in nature die of old age? Or is it just that he hates cats? It sure seems like he has no problem whatsoever with killing them. Some animals really are more equal than others, right?

Anonymous said...

I try to not to suggest that every bastard that comes along acts like a Nazi, but Dr. Longcore fits the job description perfectly with his "Final Solution to the Feral Cat Problem".

Anonymous said...

Longcore said "remove" 50%. In his previous email he said "remove." That could be through adoption or relocation to a sanctuary. It does not mean kill.

If someone would like to have a professional, educated, open minded discussion I suggest they read the research from both sides first. Go from there. Don't just say "TNR works!" without reading the real research, not some anecdotal story written by a colony guardian. Read independent research. Parroting what the wanna-be-paid nokill consultants have been beating into your skulls does not mean tnr actually works at reducing populations. They want you to think it does so you will force cities to hire them. They are using you to make money.

True, doing nothing would be worse than doing tnr but is that the best option for everyone, i.e. the cats, wildlife, environment, humans? Is it the only option? What about more adoptions, more sanctuaries, more neutering of all cats, keeping owned cats in enclosed properties, removing feral cats that are FLV+, mandatory vaccinations of all outdoor cats...

Don't just attack. Find a solution that works. Find other options. If you are just going to attack Longcore and not have a professional conversation, I don't blame him for not wanting to meet with you.

Ed Muzika said...

Longcore said remove all right, but adopting or sending 1,000,000 feral cats to sanctuaries is a ridiculous proposal. LAAS adopts 24,000 pets a year with a $20,0000,000 budget. To adopt 1,000,000 cats at that rate would cost $900,000,000.

He just says adopt or place 1,000,000 in a sanctuary. He knows it is not possible. It is a cynical cover for his proposed final solution.

He is attacking TNR, not offering solutions.

His refusal to talk was made to an epidemiologist who offered to discuss data and strategies. He refused saying his mind is made up. It wasn't an offer to talk from ALF or ADL.

Longcore refused to discuss policy.

Last, after I respond to his email that his removal recommendation was really a call for killing 1,000,000 or more cats, he refused to respond to that email by discussing the facts or offering alternatives.

It is Longcore who started the attack on TNR and has steadfastly refused to respond to the epidemiologist or to me. He is a moral cripple.

Anonymous said...

What pro-TNR "scientists" tried to meet with Longcore? Are there any real "scientists" who would be willing to state that having 3,000,000 outdoor free roaming feral cats in Los Angeles is a good thing for the environment, wildlife and humans?

Ed Muzika said...

These are emails between Deborah Ackerman, Ph.D., a UCLA epidemiologist, and Travis Longcore.

The paper Longcore refers to is a mathematical modeling of TNR colony management, while Ackerman refers to a real world example.

Basically, Longcore says the real world example she offers could never be universal. He also says discussion would not chnage his mind.

The emails:

Hi again,

We have requested, and indeed the City should have undertaken, a public process to evaluate the published and unpublished data on the environmental effects of any TNR program. This would not be a peer reviewed study itself, but would allow the City to evaluate the information, including that presented through the public comment process, such as the hearing you suggest. The purpose would be to identify any potentially significant environment impacts and to avoid them or to mitigate for them.

I appreciate your offer of discussing the literature, but I doubt that it would be particularly fruitful. My colleagues and I have given this a great deal of thought over many years and it is likely we come at this issue from a different perspective than you do. It is unlikely that either of us will change each others minds about the underlying value judgements that inform any decision about how to manage feral cats.


On Dec 12, 2009, at 2:19 PM, Deborah Ackerman wrote:

Hi again, Travis- I just wanted to add that I don't believe the peer review process is needed or even possible for this issue. The publication process is too slow for an issue of "life or death" importance like this, and the peer review process does not prevent research bias. I hope that there will be a hearing that will permit experts to critique both published and unpublished evidence and will allow the impacted parties to present their arguments. In my field, epidemiology, my colleagues and I often invited to participate in such legal hearings where we critically evaluate both published and unpublished data. I don't know what the City will do next. But as I said in my previous email, I would be happy to discuss with you the evidence regarding the possible environmental and public health impact of managed feral cat colonies and the effects of TNR programs.

Best regards,

In any case, I look forward to

Travis Longcore wrote:
Hi Dr. Ackerman,

Thank you for sending the two articles; I do indeed have both. One is about the health of cats in TNR programs (not population dynamics) and the other essentially describes a combined TNR/trap and remove program (47% were adopted out during the program, which we discuss in our paper, attached). Published papers, including those you sent, should be the basis for evaluating any TNR program before it is considered for formal adoption by the City, which is what we are calling on the City to do.

You seem less persuaded by mathematical models, but the numbers derived from that simulation are very similar to those found in other studies for the critical percentage of cats that must be neutered for TNR to reduce population size. Essentially, immigration must be limited to zero and sterilization must be 70-90% for this approach to work in reducing the number of cats in an area. Therefore reductions only occur in extremely limited circumstances with TNR alone, or if TNR is augmented by removal for adoption or euthanasia as is the case with Levy et al. 2003. But it certainly cannot occur when people are using TNR colonies as places to dump unwanted cats or to release cats that they adopt out from shelters or have moved from other areas.


Anonymous said...

As per Dr Ackerman's resume she is an assoc professor, assoc researcher who studies the psychology of humans and psychiatric drugs. She is not a biologist, environmentalist, zoologist or veterinarian. How is she a TNR expert or researcher? She's never done any research on cats, TNR, animals' effect on the environment or anything even remotely related. She sounds like a cat only lover trying to pass herself off as an expert.

In the note she sends to Longcore she mentions the unverified study by a biased caretaker which showed reduction in the population. The caretaker admits most of the reduction was the result of removing 47% of the population of cats. Longcore suggests removing 50% would cause the population to decrease. Longcore basically agrees with that caretaker in regard to means to reduce a population. Why is she even arguing with him if they agree?

As I read her note I can tell she does not even begin to understand the review process. Again, not an expert. No one is asking to do new in the field peer review research on cat TNR in Los Angeles. I can tell she has not even reviewed the research which Longcore presented. Everyone has a chance to add their own input to the review process. An educated discussion can take place in that process.

Ed Muzika said...

"Unverified study by a biased caretaker?" Are you kidding. Julie Levy:Julie Levy, DVM, PhD, ACVIMCollege of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of Florida

Unlike Longcore and Rich, Levy is a veterinarian and a Ph.D., and has been writing on TNR for many years.

Also, Ackerman is the wrong sort of epidemiologist for you, but Longcore, who is a mere occasional lecturer at UCLA is the right kind?

In fact, at USC he is associate professor of geography. He has no Ph.D, in epidemiology, nor veterinary medicine.

Ed Muzika said...

If you want to witness Longcore and Rich's anti cat bias, take a look at the 120 page letter he sent to the Beverly Hills Council opposing TNR.

In the first 11 pages he attacks every suggestion and recommendation in the TNR ordinance, and says TNR can't work in the real world because dumping cannot be stopped.

Of course this is nonsense, because he is assuming dumping takes place because feral colonies already exist. He assumes there will be no dumpting if there are no feral colonies.

Here is the link:


Ed Muzika said...

More on Longcore. His bio from the USC Website. All of his degrees are in geography. he has only published one paper on feral cats. His other studies are coauthors on beavers, butterflies and urban lighting. He is basically a cartographer.

Travis R. Longcore
Associate Professor (research) of Geography

B.A. Geography, University of Delaware, 6/1993
M.A. Geography, University of California - Los Angeles, 9/1995
Ph.D. Geography, University of California - Los Angeles, 12/1999

His only institutional affiliation is with a GIS lab at USC. GIS is Geographic Information Science.

His USC bio:

He is a nobody that won the lawsuit because LAAS and the City lacked the guts and determination to oppose the lawsuit and/or do a CEQA study.

Deborah Ackerman, MS, Ph.D. said...

I am a pharmacologist (MS) and an epidemiologist (PhD), trained in biostatistics, epidemiology, and pharmacology. My expertise is in research methods, including both observational and experimental studies. I am well qualified to critique both observational and clinical research studies.

I have reviewed the scientific literature relevant to the public and environmental health impact of feral cat colonies. The comments I have expressed to Dr. Longcore represent my professional opinion of the published literature and unpublished data.

I believe that the papers Dr. Longcore cites are highly biased. And Dr. Longcore believes the papers I cite are highly biased. It seems that no amount of research will be able to change anyone's mind. The issue of how society treats feral cats isn't really about the scientific evidence, it is about personal values.

Money and Power said...

These anti-TNR people better stay away from my cats.

First the city doesn't want the cats and tells you to TNR.

You TNR, care for them, and nearly lose your home trying to maintain and provide for all their medical bills.

Now, they want you to stop feeding them and starve them to death. Of you don't, they will go after you with citations, lawyers fees trying to defend yourself and your now "owned" cats because if you are feeding them, then you are their "rightful owner." You face possible jail time if you violate the law.

TNR! It's the humane solution, they tell you. Now, it's: If you are caught trapping cats without a city permit (and we aren't going to give you one, by the way), you are looking at a prior and face prosecution, and possible impounding of the animals if you violate this ordinance, whatever they decide the ordinance is in the next half hour. Until then, you are SOL, no matter how you look at it, and the cats pay!

Good show, city of Los Angeles! Bunch of insane, idiot, lying bunch of tormentors.

Keep lying to the public and get them caught in your little rat traps and mazes, you lying city managers, mayors and councilpeople. Thanks very much for making us look like a bunch of blind idiots. You've succeeded.

If you dare come near my cats, I will either blow my brains out or I will blow yours out of my lawn. First it's: we don't want the cats, spay and neuter them and put them back; here's some brochures about how to manage feral cat colonies.

Then you go out and do what they tell you and now they have YOU and YOUR CATS where they want you. In the palm of their hand and starving on the street. All of you, four-footers included.

These government officials are after one thing, and only one thing: recognition, money, power. Three in one. They can give a crap about you or the cats. They are all the same. They lie and they cheat. So what's new? Damn them all.