Thursday, July 10, 2014
More Bang for Their Buck
Background: (if you already know the story, skip right ahead to "More Bang for Their Buck" below)
In Bloomington, Indiana, where I currently live---a town proud of its progressive politics in a very red state---the City Council passed an ordinance (7-2) to hire a company of professional sharp shooters to come into our local nature preserve this winter and bait, lure, and kill deer who will come to trust the food source in the winter when they are hungrier. The hired assassins will wear camouflage and night-vision goggles, and fire from tree stands in a quasi-militaristic operation.
The Parks Board (4-0) approved and signed the contract, and the Mayor, an animal advocate who has opposed killing the deer, signed as well. The cost to the city: $31,000 a year (plus security and other "incidentals"). As both our DNR biologist and a representative of White Buffalo, the head of the company contracted to kill deer, described what will become an annual event: "It's like mowing your lawn."
Killing deer---mowing lawn. Hmmm, maybe I'll stop getting out the reel mower that I occasionally run over my patch of grass and just go shoot some deer. After all, it's the same thing, right?
There is thin evidence that the deer are solely responsible for changes in the forest here and plenty of evidence that we human animals have created the problems that lead affect our natural world, like climate change/global warming, using herbicides to "manage" the forest, etc. The "preserve" is actually a multi-use recreational area that allows fishing and boating and hiking, and a portion of it abuts the Indiana University Golf Course, which in its chemically treated savannah-like greenery, is a deer buffet. (If only we could teach the deer to golf!)
Even if it were determined through a count that there are too many deer (too many deer can mean different things to different people), there are numerous humane options to killing deer, but without a count, no one knows how many deer there are. So if White Buffalo kills the 100 deer the contract permits them to kill, there might be 0 deer left. Calls for head counts have been met by disdainful and dismissive remarks by our public officials, writing opponents off as "Bambi lovers" and "naive," and even "the same as climate change deniers." No need, they say, we can tell with our keen eyes from browsing patterns there are too many deer. You Oh, excuse me, I forgot, le mot de jour is "over-abundant." The deer, they say, are "over-abundant." And what about the human population?Are we not "over-abundant" as well, as we ruin our own planet?
Even Indiana DNR biologists concede the deer at our park are far from biological carrying capacity, meaning they aren't close to eating themselves out of house or home. Our officials tried "the deer are starving and it's only humane to put them out of their misery" rhetoric. But the DNR also described the herd as very healthy.
Many opponents are questioning not only the questionable science, but also the questionable ethics of killing healthy, sentient beings. But moral arguments fall by the wayside as opponents are denounced as "Bambi-loving idealists" who care more about animals than people (you know the kind--some of them are even radical vegans and just kooks, a real fringe element), and who don't understand that nature is cruel (huh? you mean it's not all love and happiness out there in the kumbaya forest?) and who anthropomorphize wildlife (you mean eagles and rabbits don't meet for cocktails, and foxes and possums don't have book clubs?).
And now the DISCLAIMER: For those tone-deaf and often thin-skinned public officials who endlessly complain they are so offended by what opponents to the deer kill are saying, as in "deer killing deer is unnecessary and inhumane," please note that what follows is a nod to the tradition of 18th-century wit Jonathan Swift's famous essay, "A Modest Proposal." HINT: It is a satire.
MORE BANG FOR THEIR BUCK:
A Modest Plan for Humanely Reducing the Populations of Both Deer and Low-Income People
Just in case all this "Bambi-loving" talk about compassionate conservation and ethical environmentalism has actually provoked any doubts among even our most sensible citizens that the plan to reduce the deer population through a cull is not humane, allow me to join public officials pressing for the kill in easing everyone's mind that not only are these sharp shooters as accurate as smart bombs (making the kill completely humane), but the deer meat, which we refer to by its francophilic moniker "venison," will be donated to the poor and low-income, many of whom are, as we know, not taking full personal responsibility for their destitute situations. No one is going to go so far as to call anyone shiftless and lazy, but they are eating up public resources like pigs in a truffle patch, and they place a heavy burden on hardworking taxpayers by reproducing offspring at alarming rates.
So it makes good sense to donate the sharp-shot carcasses of these monstrous, herbivorous deer, because what insensitive lug would ever stand in the way of boosting the protein levels of our hungry brothers and sisters? (Apparently those afore-mentioned Bambi-lovers care more about saving a bunch of "rats with hooves" than filling the bellies of the starving with something other than dastardly peanut butter).
This plan is close to foolproof, because from a PR standpoint it comes cloaked in kindness (unlike the distasteful idea some have proposed of rounding up the poor and baiting and luring them to their deaths when they're hungry--sharp shooting indigents is apparently not on the menu of services that White Buffalo provides). But here's the additional and unseen benefit. The sharp shooters will be using lead bullets, which we've been assured are safe because their shooters are so accurate (how clever of them to ignore the brouhaha generated by the Left Coast People's Republic of California which has banned lead bullets after claiming to discover evidence of environmental damage and dangers to other animal life, not to mention the so-called hazardsof consuming lead in meat, particularly by pregnant women and children).
Permit me to add a link here to demonstrate the kind of wonky, anti-scientific, and sentimental pablum these bleeding hearts rely on to support their inane cause:
And another from that radical, animal-loving organization the Humane Society of the United States, who seems to forget the word "human" is "humane" without the "e":
And this from a hunter who appears to have gone soft in the head:
It's easy enough to discount all these naysayers fretting about health and environmental impact of lead bullets, since the fact that our great state of Indiana allows hunters to use them certainly proves there's no harm. (After all, Indiana made #2 on the left-wing HuffingtonPost list of the least green and most polluting states. From my own observations, no one seems the worse for the million pounds of PCB waste Westinghouse dumped in our very own county that poured into landfills and waterways.)
The added benefit to this lead-filled bounty of deer meat--oops, I mean venison--- plan is that in these fiscally-challenged times when we should be growing our businesses and putting our dollars into more profitable ventures like all the high-rises and hotels and fancy student condos downtown (and removing those annoying benches where homeless people like to sit and sleep, and spoil the view), killing deer and serving lead-laden meat to the poor and down and out offers the potential of a cost-saving opportunity extraordinaire. Now some of these nattering nabobs of effete extremism claim that lead from bullets in meat affects overall health and may contribute to organ failure (even so, sometimes euthanasia may be the most humane way out of poverty), but my modest proposal here focuses on the potential for merely decreasing fertility in those who consume it. This means that as we reduce the deer population with hired sharp shooters, we can simultaneously, by donating the lead-laden venison to food pantries, assist in reducing the number of poor people by being proactive in limiting their procreation.
Voila! It's killing two birds with one stone, so to speak, by feeding one to the other, thereby humanely reducing populations of both, and returning this city to its former glory.
I end my modest proposal by commending our progressive public officials for their forward-thinking perspectives, and I look forward to living in a city that is not so plagued by poor people and annoying wildlife (I suggest we go after rabbits next, then crows, then chipmunks and squirrels). I raise my hat to a truly 21st-century environmental vision!
Posted by Alyce Miller at 7:37 PM