2014-01-02 / Letters to the Editor

Culling deer herd is expensive and cruel

In 1967, eight deer – four bucks and four doe – were intentionally ferried to Block Island for their peaceful ways and gentle beauty. Almost 50 years has passed, and yes, deer do mate.

It is approximated that 800 to 1,000 deer inhabit the island today. Despite the framework of time that has passed, the amount of deer does not seem to be out of control. However, the goal set by the DEM is to bring in out-of-state hired guns to systematically cull the deer, leaving 100 to 150 deer remaining on the island.

It is estimated to cost the taxpayers of Block Island a whopping $129,000 for the scheduled winter culling, inclusive of lodging ($200 per night), travel expenses, bait, ammunition, staging, a mobile butcher shop and police support. The systematic killing would take place in intervals of approximately 200 deer at a time. This process would include luring the deer with bait to an isolated area of the island, confining them, and then, on elevated platforms, take out the alpha male and alpha female first, then proceed to systematically massacre the remaining frantic and frightened deer one by one.

A hired mobile butcher shop would then be brought in to dispose of the carcasses, where they would be processed, skinned, butchered, bone crushed and ground, packaged and froze on the spot, and then distributed. This is tragic, barbaric and inhumane treatment of innocent animals that were brought to Block Island for their peaceful ways and gentle beauty in the first place. It is also traumatic and expensive for the taxpayers, who will pay an estimated $640 a deer.

Furthermore, it does not seem implausible to wager that it would cost the taxpayers a lot less trauma and money to relocate the deer, potentially in intervals, as was done originally in 1967. Better yet, investing in ethical, progressive and peaceful resolutions for us to coexist in harmony with them.

Hard-earned dollars can be better spent investing in the future. Ethical and humane solutions should be used rather than the repeated, systematic, expensive and tragic decimation of innocent animals.

Elisa Conte
Hamilton Avenue

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