The Humane Society (of Jamestown) is finally right about one thing, the health and safety of more than 6,000 Jamestown residents is paramount. Too bad their agenda is focused on animals instead of people.
Over the past three years, family members, friends and acquaintances have been stricken with Lyme disease. A few did well under treatment and are back pursuing their lives. But others have not been so lucky. Within the past few weeks, we learned that another close friend has been crippled by the disease and is in a long-term care home because initial treatment was not successful. The outlook for her is very grim.
Why would any rational and caring individual or collectively, the organizations
they belong to, trade this person's right to pursue a healthy life over the socalled rights of a whitetailed deer?
During this fall season and after walking only a few blocks from our home, we encountered six instances of deer ticks over a span of three months. In 2004, it took us three seasons to encounter as many. And we have always been vigilant.
The society and others continue their self-serving agenda to promote contraceptive measures for the deer herd. Since they have not stepped up to volunteer society funds or take the responsibility to shoulder any of the outrageous cost of this effort, it would seem that they believe that the taxpayers must be forced to help carry out their plan. At a time when many of our long-term residents are discovering that they must sell their homes because of their inability to pay for their utilities and their taxes, it is apparent that the society supports the proposition that protection of the deer is of greater value than the potential to push more residents over the financial cliff. Strike one.
For those who are concerned about the issue of hunting safety accidents, perhaps consideration should be given to some very public facts. The firearm accident death rate reported by the CDC for 2004 was 0.26 per 100,000 of population. In 2004, the twelve states where Lyme disease is most common (RI is one of these), the CDC reported 27.4 cases of the disease for every 100,000 persons. In simple terms, this means that Jamestown residents are 100 times more likely to contract Lyme disease than to be felled by a hunter. The threat to our health and safety is not the deer hunter. Strike two.
We are acquainted with several hunters from this island who, because of their seasonal employment, hunt and fish to help feed their families. We know of others who routinely donate the portion of their harvest they cannot consume to Hunters To Feed The Hungry programs. Many states have DEM-level agencies that actively support this initiative. To suggest that the deer are being hunted purely for pleasure is inaccurate, selfserving and offensive. Strike three.
It is time to put the safety and health of Jamestown residents at the forefront of this discussion. The Town Council must do what ever it can to limit the growing epidemic of Lyme disease and the long-term misery and suffering that it bestows on those who've had the misfortune to encounter an insect the size of a fly speck. The deer herd of Jamestown is the primary vector for this disease. We must start culling the deer herd to spare humans from the treacherous infection and subsequent pain and misery of Lyme disease. When there is no more evidence to be collected and the threat to the health of the community has been identified, we say to the town council: make the hard decisions, do what is necessary now, not 6 weeks or 6 months from now. Reduce the size of the herd immediately by continuing to enable lawful and much-need hunting.
To the society, we say: you're out. Cease wasting our tax dollars with your frivolous lawsuits and discontinue your outrageous and condescending statements to those who choose not to follow your ignorant example and dangerously misguided agenda.
The next time you order "steak au poivre" at your favorite restaurant, remember how "Bossy" met her fate. Jeanne Spinosa Glier