Saturday, March 30, 2013

Is Man-Made Deer Overpopulation the Right Issue to Take a Stand for Animal Rights?

Deer III - Rock Creek ParkIf you were to design a system for ensuring an overpopulation of deer, it would look a lot like DC's Rock Creek Park - a huge expanse of temperate land with well-maintained vegetation, no predators, and no hunting allowed.

And it's worked perfectly! So now the National Park Service is having to pay hunters to harvest the deer for food:
Sixty to 70 deer are expected to be shot. After the carcasses are tested for disease, the venison will be donated to food pantries.

The Park Service says that what it euphemistically calls a deer “harvest” is needed to safeguard the health of the park, the herd, and the people who live nearby or use the park. With 70 deer per square acre, the park has about four times the density considered ideal.
Animal rights activists have called for the Park Service to use birth control, but that's proved expensive and ineffective. Meanwhile, the results of the man-made deer explosion have proved disastrous, with car-deer accidents and Lyme disease among the serious public health threats. When animal rights activists are comparing the deer cull to Newtown and using the hashtag #DontKillBambi, are they being dismissive of those threats to people?

The case for culling is even greater if you see Rock Creek Park for what it is - a man-made deer farm. Why not take advantage of it, especially considering how much deer meat food pantries stand to gain? I'd seen reports online that one deer can feed up to 200 people, which seemed high but is backed up by the math. One pound of deer meat makes up to six servings. The average deer provides 40 to 60 pounds of meat. By that math, assuming every culled deer is healthy, we're talking about meat for 10,000 meals provided free to food pantries.
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