National Park Service kills 20 deer, draws ire of vegan yuppie set
Yesterday, the National Park Service finished out its deer population management program in Rock Creek Park for the year, killing 20 wide-eyed, innocent deer. The meat from the 20 deer killed will be donated to local food banks. (Waste not want not, I guess.)
Last week’s culling was part of a long-term plan to reduce the park’s population by approximately 150 deer over the course of three years. Although the park’s deer number is at approximately 400 —80 deer per square mile, many locals and animal rights activists oppose the plan, calling it unnecessary and inhumane. In a statement to the DCist, PETA senior cruelty case worker, Kristin Simon, said:
Science tells us that lethal control just doesn’t work to reduce deer population in urban settings, and in fact can make things worse. We would like the park service to focus on integrative and adaptive wildlife management plans that target food sources.
In addition to PETA’s undeniably unbiased opinion, in early March five park locals mounted a lawsuit against the park, claiming they had an emotional connection the park’s deer (all 400 of them) and asserted that deer contraception provided a reasonable alternative to the shootings.
Despite these appeals for mercy, the courts threw out the lawsuits and the massacre of all the Bambis and Bambi’s Moms went on as planned.
Protestors gathered outside the park over the course of the culling, waving signs that Vox would usually be all for, such as “birth control, not bullets.” They even held candlelight vigils at night for the slain bucks and does.
Proponents of the plan see the shootings as the most effective method of stabilizing the population. The current population, which is currently four times the park’s capacity, has ravished the local flora and fauna, preventing the forest from regenerating and putting the forest’s long-term stability at risk.
In addition, West Virginia has a higher risk of deer-related car accidents than anywhere else in the country (1 in 48 chance). Virginia and Maryland are also ranked as high-risk states (1 in 105 and 1 in 114, respectively). The chances of hitting a deer in D.C. are small (1 in 1,010). But then again, you never know…
Image: Mike Licht