Letter: Animal freedoms

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Terence Blacker's article about cat killings in London contained a crucial mistake ("The menace of pet ownership", 10 August). He states that the cats were "murdered" by foxes, but this was not the case.

Both the RSPCA, which investigated the deaths, and Richard Askwith, who wrote the original feature in The Independent on Sunday, made it clear that scientists had proved the animals had died in accidents and had then been scavenged by foxes or other animals.

Throughout this investigation the RSPCA arranged for full veterinary examinations of the carcasses and reserved judgement on the cause of death until they had been completed. There was no need to "cover up" for foxes, as Terence Blacker implies happened, because foxes were not suspects in the inquiry.

Scientific studies show that the risk to pet cats from foxes is minimal, although reporting which inaccurately portrays the fox as a serial killer could pose a danger to its welfare if it causes people to undertake unnecessary reprisals.

CHARLOTTE MORRISSEY

RSPCA

Horsham, West Sussex

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