Article by Jason Miller originally posted at Thomas Paine's Corner.
Despite pleas to save the animals, Johnson County officials will employ sharpshooters and bow hunters to solve the problem of too many deer in Shawnee Mission Park.
–The Kansas City Star, June 17, 2009
Daniel Whitesel says he is forced to traverse a “literal minefield of deer poop” when he plays golf nearby.
He can watch from his home office as whitetail deer devastate his flowers and shrubs. “They walk down the street like taxpayers,” he said.
–The Kansas City Star, February 5, 2009
They’ve opted for the “whack ’em and stack ’em” approach, to quote that great conservationist Ted Nugent.
–Mike Hendricks, columnist for the Kansas City Star, June 11, 2009
Johnson Co. To Cull Park’s Deer Herd: Sharpshooters, Bow Hunters To Reduce Deer Population In Shawnee Mission Park
LENEXA, Kan. — Johnson County officials have approved an answer to the deer dilemma in Shawnee Mission Park.
The county will hire sharpshooters and bow hunters to take care of the population problem.
After a hearing Wednesday that drew more than 100 people, the board voted to use hunters to reduce the park herd from about 200 deer per square mile to 50.
–Kansas City News, KCTV 5, June 18, 2009
My letter to the Johnson County Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners dated 5/25/09:
As a home/vehicle-owning (hence tax-paying) resident of Johnson County and as a relentless activist for nonhuman animals, I am writing to express my strong objection to the use of any lethal methods to manage the deer population in Shawnee Mission Park. I am a vegan animal liberationist, so I am ardently opposed to humans exploiting, torturing or intentionally killing other animals.
Unfortunately, I missed the May 13 Johnson County Park and Recreation District meeting in which other county residents voiced their opinions about ways to cope with the deer overpopulation. I did find what appears to be a decent summary of the potential solutions discussed– at this link:
Here is a summary of my position:
1. The deer didn’t ask to have their habitat encroached upon and nearly eradicated by human development, thus it is morally reprehensible for us to kill them to “cull their population” because they represent a “problem” to us.
2. Bunselmeyer, a resident quoted in the Shawnee Dispatch article linked above, exemplifies the ugly speciesist side of this debate– with his arrogant portrayal of deer as “teddy bears” when they were cute and distant and as “mosquitoes” now that they are “tearing up his yard, and as he notices the deer are weak and starving.” My devout belief that other sentient beings have the basic rights to live free from torture, exploitation, subjugation, and murder aside, how about just a little bit of compassion? I have a nice-sized back yard and a privacy fence. Bring a couple of the deer to my place and I’ll feed them and let them tear up my yard.
3. We humans have no right to murder those deer for any reason, let alone to solve an over-population problem that we caused by radically altering their ecosystem (i.e. shrinking it and removing natural predators).
4. I vehemently object to sharp-shooting or bow hunting in Shawnee Mission Park–for the sake of the deer, for human safety, and because, as the residents who spoke against killing the deer at your meeting stated, it would ruin the atmosphere of the park. As Alta Lantz, one of the deer defenders who spoke on the 13th, opined, “The real nuisance animals I think are the people. There just seems to be a growing disregard for animals.”
5. Why was professional bow-hunter R.J. Jubber (the key word being “professional” here–meaning he has a vested financial interest in murdering animals) allowed to voice his view when he is from Eudora, which is outside of Johnson County? I’ll bet “R.J.” is itching to get a crack at the deer in Shawnee Mission Park. A heavily over-populated herd in a relatively small area that has never been hunted-fish in a barrel, eh Jubber? I also note in the KC Star article about the meeting (http://www.kansascity.com/637/story/1196224.html) that Jubber said, “We want to see most of the deer killed in the park, but not all the deer.”
Again, as a non-resident, who the hell is he to influence what happens in Shawnee Mission Park in any way? Let him try to convince Douglas County officials to allow him to slaughter the deer in their county. Jubber actually manages to make Bunselmeyer appear humane.
6. I want to know the name of the representative of the city of Lenexa who stated that the city in which I reside wants to bring sharp-shooters into Shawnee Mission Park. Aside from my previously stated serious objection to killing the deer, what about the safety of people visiting the park or those who live nearby? Sounds pretty reckless to me. I have serious concerns about the competence of this city employee and want to know if this is truly the desire of the “authorities” in my city.
7. To preserve the best interests of both humans and other animals, it is morally imperative that we address the deer overpopulation problem in Shawnee Mission Park through trapping and relocating and/or employing fertility control agents. According to the account I read of your meeting on May 13, these two options would be economically and pragmatically viable. The potential for a 30% mortality rate in conjunction with trapping and relocating concerns me, but saving 70% of the deer we remove would be far better than mowing down 100% with a barrage of arrows or a hail of bullets.
8. Aside from providing my share of the cost via my taxes, I’d be more than happy to volunteer my time and efforts to assist in any way I could with the trapping and relocating and/or deploying the fertility control agents.
Please read, consider and reply to my questions and comments. I am sending them to you as a concerned citizen and tax-payer; an animal rights activist; a writer and publisher of sociopolitical commentary, critiques, polemics, and philosophy; and as a press officer.
Senior Editor and Founder of Thomas Paine’s Corner