Stray cat feeding station in Busan pits rights group against state agency

The population of stray cats on Eulsuk Island, once as high as 200, is now estimated at around 70 due to ongoing neutering efforts. Courtesy of the Busan Alliance for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

The Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) rejected an application by the Busan Alliance for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to install a feeding station for stray cats on Eulsuk Island on the Nakdong River flowing through the southern port city, a decision the group finds difficult to accept and is preparing to contest.The CHA made the decision on April 2, citing concerns regarding the potential impact on migratory birds in the area. Emphasizing previous rejections and the mandated removal of existing feeding stations, the administration pointed to numerous studies indicating significant harm caused by cats to local wildlife.According to the minutes of the meeting, the CHA stated that the request to install feeding stations for cats, which was already denied, should prioritize the removal of existing structures, as “the damage caused by cats to migratory birds and other wildlife is significant, supported by numerous domestic and international studies, making it difficult to positively assess the installation of feeding stations.”

The organization had initially applied for a permit to install feeding stations in 2016, which the CHA denied. Despite this, the organization continued to operate the feeding stations in collaboration with local governments. The CHA ordered all feeding stations to be dismantled, and the areas restored to their original state. This directive led to the removal of 15 feeding stations managed by local authorities, while 16 stations installed by the organization remained operational.In response to the CHA’s decision, the alliance presented a petition signed by 15,000 supporters and statements from 129 animal rights organizations advocating for coexistence strategies between stray cats and migratory birds on the island. They argued that the CHA has largely ignored their evidence and expert opinions supporting the installation of the feeding stations.Kim Ae-ra, head of the Busan animal rights alliance, expressed frustration over the lack of transparency and engagement from the CHA, stating that the reasons for denial are difficult to accept.She also criticized the CHA for not providing any of the studies they referenced about the damage caused by cats to bird populations, which led the organization to prepare a formal objection to the 토토사이트 decision.

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