Deer protest story was over the top

The coverage “Deer kill protest turns into First Amendment battle” and “Police disrupt legal demonstration in [Fairmount] park”, (Dec 16 issue) was incomplete and inflammatory.

Incomplete because the articles represented only the view of the small number of protesters – with no balanced article from scientists, the City, or land managers.

Inflammatory because of provocative language and photo.

Health, safety, and environmental reasons require deer management:

• Deer populations in many areas of Pennsylvania are about ten times what can be sustained by a healthy environment;

• Humans have killed off natural deer predators;

• Deer are a major vector (and cause) of Lyme disease, an epidemic threatening humans and pets;

• Deer cause many car accidents;

• High numbers of deer stop forest regeneration;

• Deer destroy home landscapes;

• Excessive deer herds are not healthy populations;

• Deer were almost extinct in Pennsylvania around 1900 and were reintroduced from elsewhere. They have been hunted and managed for centuries.

If deer herd size is not actively managed, deer will starve, destroy the landscape, smash cars, and aggressively spread Lyme Disease.

Cyane Gresham
Chestnut Hill


Little new or newsworthy

The life and/or death of Bambi may be a problem for some, but like it or not, hunting is a fact of human life and deer death, especially in Pennsylvania.

I wonder why the guru (Len Lear) of where to eat venison appears insulted that someone needs to kill deer to provide it. We in the majority are carnivores but we generally leave the killing of other mammals to others. We don’t want details.

The photo of the hunter’s kill had the same (non) relevance as a slaughterhouse in Chicago. It’s the same way we rely on others to grow our vegetables

While I respect the right of the minority to assemble, the right as stated involves petitioning the government, presumably on the government’s property. I prefer activists not picket on my front lawn due to my consumption of meat and understand why the operator of Valley Green wouldn’t want demonstrations 10, 20, 30 or 40 feet from the front door of his business.

I respect the rights of all to state their opinions in the Local or whatever forum they can find. However, I question the respect given to any organization formed “ad hoc” that obtains rights and powers not given to an individual. Eight, 18 or 88 members give you no more rights than one. Tell me legitimately that you represent thousands and I might give you some room.

The police produced an unnecessary show of force, but that’s nothing new. Obviously they need some additional training as to what is politically acceptable. Bottom line, the demonstrators did as they were told. Had they not, it might have warranted front-page coverage. But in real terms, I doubt the paddy wagon would have been used on the elderly, and I doubt their actions are worth incarceration, or their cause, further notice.

Ed Budnick
Chestnut Hill

Deer report questioned

The grossly deficient 1996 deer report admits to a great lack of understanding on deer ecology, and yet this very report was the basis for killing deer in Fairmount Park.

Before the first shot was ever fired, the plan to kill deer was cloaked in secrecy, suspicion, deception and untruths. Since when has Fairmount Park been required to be in harmony with the human ambitions of Friends of the Wissahickon, et al? This debacle has been called ecological fascism by some.

Conflicts with deer are in a sense artificial in all cases, according to Rory Putman, author of “The Natural History of Deer.” Where deer threaten natural communities, they have reached unusually high densities, which in itself is usually the result of human encroachment. Man is changing the environment in many ways and is creating the conflicts.

Increased understanding of the natural behavioral repertoire and ecological requirements of deer is sorely needed if we are ever to accept these animals on their own terms. In his paper, “Equality, Sameness and Rights,” Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess personally claims that all individuals of whatever species have the same right to live and flourish.

A study by Ohio State University suggests that larger deer numbers may in fact increase ecological diversity as opposed to reducing it as has been suggested in the past.

They found that high numbers of deer may in fact be attracting a greater number of species. The findings challenge previous research that has suggested deer populations can negatively impact forest ecosystems through eating plants that many smaller animals may depend on. Go to http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/deer.htm

American author and essayist Edward Paul Abbey said: “It is not enough to understand the natural world. The point is to defend and preserve it.”

The big-picture understanding of the issue at hand is in the relevant details. One cannot properly protect, defend and preserve the natural world with superficial knowledge. Being in touch with all the truths of nature is crucial.

The protracted war on deer in Fairmount Park has been a shining example of justice denied. A transformation of consciousness still seems so very far away, if ever.

Bridget Irons
Chestnut Hill

Belated thank you

A belated thank you to Len Lear and Lou Mancinelli. The article on Joe Barr was great (“24 years of shear pleasure on the cutting edge,” Nov. 11)! Since the article, Joe discovered he can also sing operatic arias, having taught himself Italian and listened to recordings.

Joe thought Lou was such a nice young man, and was on cloud nine about the article. Funny, his mom happened to be in the store when the interview took place. I hope Lou liked his haircut.

I will continue my quest to find interesting people around the area!

Judy Rubin
Mt. Airy