Today I received a flyer from In Defense of Animals. The
words emblazoned on the envelope were "Stop the Deer Slaughter!
Are there any wild animals left who aren't badgered and even killed
because of our cruel stewardship? How can we protect them from
our guns, bows and arrows, or whirring helicopter round-ups? One
young horse ran his hooves off in one of the cruel Bureau of Land Management (BLM) round-ups, and just keeled over and died. How very, very painful it must have been for him to run on his crippled, bleeding hooves.
I see too that the terrible specter of horse slaughterhouses is starting up again in the U.S--despite polls showing that 80 percent of Americans are opposed to them. I wrote my three Congresspeople TWICE, asking them to co-sponsor the SAFE ACT, which would protect our horses. But they obviously don't care about the issue, because none of them has replied. I'll try again. At least they should tell me why they are not supporting this humane measure.
In another animal issue, the poor wolves have once again been de-listed from the Endangered Species Act. And it's easy to find people on the Internet showing absolutely no shame as they pose with the bloodied bodies of their victims.
Take Action To Help End Deer Slaugter for Population Control
Now the In Defense of Animals (IDA) organization has alerted us to the never-ending problem of killing deer. Why haven't we been using humane methods to keep their numbers down? I am always amazed at how poorly we manage wildlife. That activity usually ends up killing animals, not "managing" them.
A recent example is the latest slaughter of innocent deer, which happened in no less august a place than the very HEART of our nation's capital. According to the IDA report, "The murders took place in the dead of night between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m in March of this year, despite ongoing protests outside the park. Sharpshooters hired by the National Park Service (NPS) lured nearly tame deer to piles of apples and grain. The deer were mowed down with bullets as they ate."
If this duplicitous spectacle doesn't sicken you, I guess nothing
will. The flyer I received from the IDA today asked supporters to voice their outrage to the NPS. And, yes, I certainly will. It urged us to "Demand [that] the agency fulfill its own mandate of protecting native wildlife--including deer--and that existing humane methods such as immunocontraception be used instead of killing deer."
The flyer suggested that, to get the agency's attention, we send our message directly to the National Park Service Director, Jonathan
Jarvis, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240. An alternative proposal was to email Mr. Jarvis at an address that can be found on the Internet. I hope you will look up that email address and write him, making clear your displeasure with the cruel and needless killing of innocent deer.
As soon as I finish this post, I will email the director myself, telling him that the NPS's approach was both callous and needless. I'll also ask him why the agency isn't using contraceptives to control the deer population in a humane way. Making that contact will take only a few minutes. And if you care about deer as I do, I'm confident you'll find those few minutes too.
Organized Cruelty to Animals Starts with Individual Heartlessness
When I think of deer, I sadly always recall what happened in east
Cleveland some years ago. An elderly black woman found a fawn in
one of her flower beds. Instead of oohing and ahhing--which I
think most of would do on spotting a baby fawn--she flew
into a rage. All she cared about was her flowers, and this fawn,
in her opinion, didn't belong among them. She then picked up a
shovel and beat the poor fawn to death. The poor mother deer
must have watched in horror, unable to do anything to stop this
very cruel act.
This was an act of animal cruelty at the personal level that was also both heartless and needless. All the woman had to do to solve her problem was to call the proper city agency and ask it to remove the innocent little creature. I believe that, in the end, she was convicted of some small violation. But, whatever the penalty was, it wasn't nearly enough for those of us who felt she deserved a harsher punishment. What the woman did was completely uncalled for.
Still Another Cruel Measure To Contain Deer
Human society has taken away from deer land that was once theirs; this means that, in many cases, their only recourse is to try to adapt to living among us. It certainly is not easy for them, because we do very little to help them. Instead, communities are increaingly resorting to deadly methods to control local deer populations.
In addition, cities and towns are often pressured by state wildlife agencies and commissions to adopt wildlife policies that favor opportunies for hunters, even when those policies fly in the face of overwhelming opposition from caring citizens.
Until recently, I had never heard about a particularly barbaric practice used in some places to cull the deer population. Called NETTING AND BOLTING, it involves casting a net over a terrified deer herd. Understandably, the deer scream and thrash about. This often leads to the painful snapping of their thin legs. Then the netters fire a 4-inch steel bolt into their brains, which is rapidly retracted. If the bolt misfires, this death by bolt-gun isn't always instant, resulting in additional pain for the unfortunate deer.
As was true in the NPS Washington deer shoot this March, hired sharpshooters, wherever they are used, are paid tens or hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars per year to lure hungry deer to baiting stations and shoot them while they eat. The "lucky" ones die instantly. Others who are only wounded die slowly over several days from blood loss or infections.
Certainly, we can do better by these animals. If we have tens or
hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to kill deer, we could be using those same dollars to "shoot" darts containing immunocontraceptives into them to help keep their populations down. The darts are certainly less painful than guns, bows and arrows, or netting and bolting procedures, and NO DEER WOULD HAVE TO DIE.
An Apt Intercessary Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours
I copied this short intercessary prayer from the morning prayers
of one of the week days. Simply stated, it says a lot--at least
to me. Addressed to the Creator, it asks:
"Show us your goodness present in EVERY CREATURE, that we may
contemplate your glory every day."