December 4, 2009

The Culling Of The Deer

...That sounds like a war movie, doesn't it?

In an all-campus email sent this morning, the Farm and Ecological Preserve Oversight Committee announced a "culling" of the deer to take place over winter break to fight overpopulation on Vassar Farm. According to the email, overpopulation negatively impacts the farm's ecosystem, as well as Lyme's disease and property damage.

From the email:
"A highly regarded non-profit wildlife management and research firm will provide 2-3 skilled hunters for the cull over a few days, depending upon weather conditions... All of the resulting venison will be donated to local food pantries, through such efforts as the Hunters for the Hungry program of the Federation of Dutchess County Fish and Game Clubs."

The committee will be tabling in the College Center on Monday and Tuesday to give out information and answer questions.

Personally, Mads loves seeing the deer around campus, but we'll take the committee's word that this decision is necessary.
12.4.09 3:07pm

5 comments:

LG said...

they're going to kill Bambi?!

charlnic said...

Human overpopulation negatively impacts the ecosystem. Humans get Lyme's disease, too. And as we have seen, humans can cause property damage.

It wouldn't be okay for them to shoot us, so why is it okay to shoot the animals?

kingfisher9704 said...

Nature, red in tooth and claw-Lord Tennyson

Ever since the late Pleistocene, humans have been the cause of massive extinctions of animals. Those who feel guilty about the death of a few deer should also feel guilty about being human, for it would seem that altering our environment is inherently part of the human condition.
Interestingly, there is a part of the "human condition" that is in direct conflict with our aforementioned bloody desires. It is my belief that humans have a unique quality, we have a desire to atone and remedy what we know is wrong.
I believe that it is clearly wrong to kill animals, and that these individual deer are suffering unfourtunate deaths. However, I also believe that it is wrongs for humans as a whole to not attempt to remedy an even larger wrong. Charinic has pointed out that human overpopulation negatively impacts ecosystems, and s/he is absolutely correct. Habit fragmentation by humans has directly caused an explosion of deer population beyond healthy levels. Let me explain this; deer thrive in “edge” habitats, they like to sleep as a herd in open fields, yet they often graze on plants in forest areas. As suburban lawns have encroached on forest, suitable habitat for deer has dramatically increased. We as humans have thus wronged deer. How? One might ask. By opening up more habitats, I would hypothesize that humans have removed a limiting factor on deer population. As a result deer population has expanded, however, resources such as food have not increased in parallel. I also suggest that today’s deer have to compete much harder for resources. Humans have in fact wronged deer, because as a result of more competition, deer are more malnourished and more stressed whenever times are rough. With human actions significantly reducing populations of large carnivores in the northeast, I propose that it is a moral duty of humans to step up and fill the ecological role of predator of deer populations. Northeastern forest are dying because we have allowed deer to take them over. If anyone needs to be convinced of this fact, check out the parts of Vassar farm that have been fenced off from deer. Out side the fence are old growth trees, and invasive species. In the fenced off areas one finds healthy saplings of native shrubs and herbs. I encourage those who want to get gushy about deer to think about the larger picture.

(one more note. This response to chirinic’s question of why its ok to shoot deer and not humans lends itself to the idea that it is ok to shoot humans, because just like the deer population our population is harming the environment. Well, guilty as charged I guess but I DON’T THINK SHOOTING HUMANS IS OK. Just to clarify. However human population control is a subject that should be addressed.)

jueicher said...

I think we should just release carnivorous predators and let nature really take its course.

Steve said...

culling is the easy way out and cheapest. Relocating the deer to Rushmore woods off of Hosner Mtn Rd is ideal. Also, sterilization of male deer and contraception have been used in deer management.

Vassacre College is wrong on this one.

People move into deer habitat and expect the deer to just die. Shameful

Also Lyme Disease ticks are carried by skunks, chipmunks, deer mice, and birds etc. If all deer died tomorrow Lyme Disease would still spread. How come NY City has so many Lyme Cases? Ever see a deer on Wall St?

Its all about humane problem solving and Vassacre gets an F.