Which Cat Should be Belled? sign now

On the 16th of April 2006, The New Indian Express, headquartered in Chennai, India published an article by one Dr. Gita Mathai entitled 'CATastrophic'. This article, subtitled 'It Is Time To Bell The Cat', made out the case that cats.. particularly domesticated cats.. pose a serious danger to human health, being capable of causing, among other things, rabies, tonsillitis, perennial eczema, toxoplasmosis and unexplained fevers. The article also advances the extraordinary hypothesis that the Egyptian royal bloodline (in other words, the Pharoahs) were brought to extinction due to their worshipful reverence and therefore unregulated interaction with cats, which resulted in chronic toxoplamosis, which resulted in successive deformed births etc which ultimately killed them off. The article further goes on to say that 'even well-fed cats' will go out and eat things like cow placenta and thereby spread further diseases (mad cow disease, maybe?). That's not all. Dr. Mathai goes on to talk about the kind and extent of bacteria that inhabit cat's buccal cavities (their mouths)(an extraordinay assertion in itself, because the human mouth probably hosts even more bacteria), the threat posed by cat scratch, etc etc.
Is it the scope of this incredible article to suggest that cats pose a clear and present danger to the health of human beings? What about the over 30,000 recorded annual deaths in India due to rabies caused by dog bite? Or tuberculosis, or Hepatitis B, or HIV AIDS, all from human to human contact? Or for that matter, millions of caeses of amoebiasis, salmonella enteritis, typhoid, or even the common cold, which are spread solely by human to human contact? Why are cats being singled out as this dangerous species which can seriously harm humans who hitherto have loved them?
And that brings us to our next point.. had this article talked (not in the after-thought box, but in the article itself) about simple measures of hygiene that will protect BOTH species from contamination, we would have no issue. But the sole focus seems to be deliberately to create a panic situation about cats in particular. This is unacceptable. Cats all over India (at least, in the South, where we have first hand experience) are a completely misunderstood species.. where dogs get all the love and affection, cats are hard pressed to find loving homes.. we have innumerable documented cases of sheer cruelty to this species resulting in trauma, disabiltiy and death due to direct human cruelty arising out of direct human ignorance. Therefore this petition calls:
1)- Upon The New Indian Express to publish a public disclaimer from this article
2)- Upon Dr Gita Mathai to provide clear medical documentary evidence in support of each and every one of her claims, failing which,
3)- Dr Gita Mathai must issue a public apology for having written such an article and clarify that it was not her intention to spread antipathy towards a particulat species.
Above all:
Cats are one of nature's most beautiful, enigmatic and preciuos animals, a species we can learn and derive enormous pleasure and benefit from. If we want to evolve, let's keep this magnificent Proof of God by our side.

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Miranda WellsBy:
AnimalsIn:
Petition target:
The New Indian Express

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