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.

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!

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