Target: Joe Gergela, Executive Director, Long Island Farm Bureau
Goal: Find humane and sustainable alternatives to culling 3,000 deer in Long Island
Authorities in Long Island have approved a cull of wild deer populations, funded by $200,000 of taxpayer money. The plans were announced without a referendum to gauge taxpayer approval of the expensive undertaking. If the cull proceeds as planned, it will see thousands of deer shot and trapped by government-hired sharpshooters.
Scheduled to begin in February, federal sharpshooters will spend 40 days eliminating up to 3,000 deer lured with bait stations. Nets will also be used, a trapping method which causes panic and injury to many deer. The deer caught in traps will then be executed point-blank with a handgun.
Farmers and government officials consider Long Island’s high deer population to be a nuisance. The deer are being blamed for crop damage, car accidents, and an increase in tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease.
There is very little scientific evidence to support the efficacy of culls in reaching their intended goals. In fact, there is a substantial body of evidence that suggests culls are ineffective, and could actually worsen the issues at hand. Though possibly a “quick fix,” a cull often results in a population resurgence, particularly in healthy animal populations with abundant food sources, such as Long Island’s deer. Moreover, culls in specific areas can often push animals outward, increasing the range of possible disease transmission.
Effective, humane, and less costly alternatives include trapping deer for vaccination and birth control. Sterilizing a small percentage of breeding-age bucks is a more long-term solution to population issues. Demand that the Long Island Farm Bureau find a sustainable and compassionate alternative to a deer cull.
Dear Joe Gergela, Executive Director, Long Island Farm Bureau,
Plans were recently announced for a taxpayer funded cull of 3,000 deer in Long Island. The cull will see the animals baited and shot by sharpshooters, or trapped and executed with handguns. This quick-fix plan is neither cost effective nor sustainable, and many humane and more effective options are available.
The deer, blamed for crop destruction, car accidents, and an increase in tick-transmitted Lyme disease, could be sterilized or immunized. As a more long term way to control populations, a small percentage of bucks could be trapped, sterilized, and returned to the wild. Lyme disease can be reduced by immunization, a much more effective alternative than culling. I urge you to consider these and other options to avoid a costly and ineffective deer cull.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Emery Way via Creative Commons