For 33 years it has been my honor and privilege to write for Audubon magazine – often taking controversial stances on behalf of wildlife.
Like you, I am passionate about protecting birds. In my recent op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel, I let my passion get the best of me, calling into question the scientific credibility of Audubon and squandering some of my own.
I regret that in the Orlando Sentinel op-ed, I:
Used the brand name of a common over-the-counter painkiller and described it as a humane way to euthanize feral cats. Using the name of the painkiller was irresponsible, and characterizing it as humane was inaccurate, according to veterinarians and scientists.
Left room for the interpretation that my reference to that painkiller was a recommendation that the public take action into its own hands. That wasn't my intent, as I said in a correction I asked the Orlando Sentinel to post.
Neglected to state that “editor-at-large of Audubon magazine” was a freelance, not salaried, title and that my opinions about lethal control of feral cats were my own. By that oversight – and twice citing my affiliation with Audubon in the text – I implied I was speaking for Audubon. I was not.
Defined trap-neuter-return (TNR) as “illegal.” There is currently scant case law proscribing TNR.
I wrote the op-ed in haste, without the care and precision my editors and readers expect. The result was that I called Audubon’s reputation into question. I got benched and earned the suspension; it was bad journalism and bad judgment.
I apologize and will work to rebuild your trust.