The media hates cats and statistical rigor
Here is a paragraph from a recent article in the New York Times entitled “The Evil of the Outdoor Cat” (emphasis added):
And wildlife in this country must share this land with a growing population of about 84 million owned cats, and anywhere from 30 to 80 million feral or stray cats. When all of them do “what’s natural” in a fragmented natural world, it adds up. Using deliberately conservative assumptions, federal researchers recently estimated that free-ranging cats killed about 2.4 billion birds annually in the Lower 48 states, a substantial bite out of the total bird population. Outdoor cats also kill about 12.3 billion small mammals a year — not just the proverbial rats and mice but also chipmunks, rabbits and squirrels — and about 650 million reptiles and amphibians. In some cases, they are pushing endangered species toward extinction.
Those number are huge and look very familiar. In fact, I believe they are from the 2013 article in Nature Communications by Dr. Scott Loss called “The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States“, which I reviewed and basically concluded it was
crap statistically meaningless. I don’t know why the media insists on printing and reprinting these absolutely meaningless numbers. Is there a hidden bird agenda in the main stream media?