Editor's Note: Editorials that appear in The Ithaca Times are created by the staff at the newspaper and are not signed.
I've wondered who writes the editorials for Finger Lakes Community Newspapers? As an active opponent of the Cayuga Heights net and bolt plan to cull its deer herd, I feel compelled to respond to the anonymous author of the June 22nd column.
First, likening "Victorian sentimentality" to those of us concerned with a particularly brutal form of killing is incongruous. Likewise allusions to Beatrix Potter and Walt Disney are farfetched, to say the least! Such juxtapositions reveal gross ignorance to what we are about.
The author claims anyone who perceives "animals as attractive, sentient individuals ignores ecological realities." In fact, animal behaviorists ARE documenting the sentient nature of other mammals who, like us, care for their young and remain in social and family groups long term. Likewise, the second comparison to "Victorian sensibility-apparently shared by many Ithacans-- . . . projects a human consciousness into the soul of an animal." An exaggeration perhaps, but rather poetically expressed!
The author portrays the views of net and bolt opponents as backward, suggesting that real concern would focus on stressors deer face associated with the vicissitudes of suburban life. I do not argue with the fact of deer overpopulation in New York State. I do not oppose seasonal deer hunting, but I would promote non-lethal methods of managing deer in suburbia. There are promising methods of sterilization that might be more effective than net and bolt, which has no scientific support. However, in states where implemented, net and bolt HAS been widely castigated as brutal, ineffective, and grotesque!
As for comparisons with natural deer management such as mountain lions and wolves, it is simply ludicrous to make such comparisons. Wolves do what they do instinctively. There is nothing instinctive about capturing groups of deer in a net and systematically (or should I say haphazardly) executing them wholesale!
Finally, the author speaks of "corvine browsers . . . eliminating . . . the next generation of vegetation in the local ecosystem." Any visitor to Cayuga Heights will notice that its human occupants have already annihilated any semblance of a natural ecosystem! Fencing gardens will not deprive deer of food. Fences, if allowed, would keep deer away from specific vegetation valued by residents. Seems like a good place to start, but village trustees place more value on "appearances" than animal and human welfare. I said "human" welfare, because many residents would suffer deeply when net and bolt happens in their neighborhood. I'm another licensed mental health professional, family and child specialist, vouching this is so.