To the editor of THE EAGLE:
After reading the August 4 article "Using birth control to trim deer count" I became very unsettled. The article describes the negative effects of an "ever-growing population of deer that overrun woods, chew through gardens and cause more than a dozen car crashes a year" in the two-square-mile suburban village of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. In an attempt to control the deer population in a humane manner, leaders from this village have proposed to inject the deer with birth control drugs.
In most towns and states today, a way to control the deer population comes once a year -- hunting season. Some think it is cruel and unjust to kill innocent creatures of the wild. From the days of hunter-gatherers to our late ancestors, hunting was a way to obtain food to survive. The idea of hunting was not termed cruel, it was just how man lived.
Those in Hastings would rather conduct an experiment that could be a model for other areas that are too congested or "too compassionate to consider killing" wildlife. This experiment involves capturing 90 percent of the does in Hastings by tranquilizing them, injecting them with a contraceptive made from pig ovaries, and tagging and releasing the creatures back into the wild.
It is clear to me the cruelest option is not killing a deer for food to feed your family but drugging and injecting a creature of the wild with a protein (porcine zona pellucida) that comes from slaughterhouse pigs. Taking a protein from one animal and injecting it into another animal for the use of contraception seems outrageous. What effects or changes will this protein make to the does that are injected with it? These slaughterhouse pigs are kept in confined, unsanitary quarters, and injected with hormones, antibiotics, and other drugs. Should any substance from our food industry be injected into such a pure creature that lives with nature? I would hope not.
From the article it can be determined that the ratio of deer to human is one deer for every 65 residents. From my research, Hastings contains a reasonable amount of land that is wooded and green. Is it the deer that have become overpopulated, or is it the citizens that have taken over the land of the deer?
The better choice for population control is, has been, and will always be by hunting. This way, the deer are not subject to foreign substances, they are not used as experiments, and it won’t cost up to $30,000 to keep this experiment aloft for two years. Who knows what changes this experiment may bring or what it may do to the future population of such beautiful creatures.