Deer Culling on Long Island

Deer culling on Long Island has been controversial, with many residents appalled at the idea of shooting the gentle animals, but others complaining about the damage they do to their gardens or the frequency of deer-car collisions.

Unfortunately for the deer and those who love them, most municipalities enter into contracts with the USDA’s Wildlife Services branch to kill as many as possible.  One recent cull on the North Fork, though, was deemed “disappointing” by the Long Island Farm Board’s (LIFB) president, because it resulted in “only” 132 deaths.

Justifying the killings by blaming deer not only for eating plants and crashing into cars, but also inaccurately pinning tick-borne disease on them, local authorities managed to get a $200,000 grant from the state to pay for the killing, and the Town of Southold kicked in $25,000.

The LIFB’s Executive Director complained that a lawsuit had restricted the NYS DEC from issuing deer kill permits.  There is an injunction still in place, but he hoped the case could be addressed after Labor Day.

As usual with these culls, the proponents boast of donating thousands of pounds of meat to local food banks, never mind that many people do not eat deer meat, and besides, there is the possibility that the procedure for establishing the safety of such meat is not always followed to the letter. They also assure the public that the killing was “humane.”

Animal protection groups on Long Island spoke out strongly against the cull, and raised questions about alternative methods such as immunocontraception. But although local officials said “all options” would be explored, there seemed little evidence of any serious consideration of anything… but killing.

EMF

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Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
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