East Hampton to End Deer Culling Program after Public Outrage
By Joe Randazzo Published: February 02 2014
Plans to have federal snipers come in and kill thousands of deer were nixed on Friday.
Back in December East Hampton officials planned on dealing with the deer overpopulation issue by hiring federal snipers to take out 3,000 of them around this time. Officials feared an outbreak of Lyme disease and loss of life in vehicular accidents due to the 35,000 deer roaming out east.
Once the public got word of this many were outraged. Some felt the word “cull” was just a nicer way of saying “slaughter.” One of the louder opponents to the plan was the Wildlife Preservation Coalition of Eastern Long Island. Their petition to East Hampton Town Supervisor, William Wilkenson, titled, “Stop Long Island Farm Bureau/USDA Stealth Plan to Brutally Slaughter 5,000 East End Deer” has gained a total of up 11,719 signatures at the time of this article’s publication.
“We demand that this archaic plan be shelved permanently and that intelligent, forward thinking solutions be instituted that protect people, animals and agriculture while adhering to ethical and environmentally sound models,” the petition stated.
After outrage and even lawsuits from activists, Paul F. Rickenbach Jr., the East Hampton village mayor, announced on Friday that the village was cancelling the plan to cull the deer. Public outcry combined with minimal complaints from property owners factored in to the decision. As of now the village plans on looking into alternatives such as sterilization to deal with the overpopulation problem.
“The intended goal was to be a regional effort, and right now that doesn’t appear to be happening,” Becky Molinaro, the village administrator, was quoted as saying in the New York Times.
The East Hampton Group for Wildlife’s Facebook page lit up on the day of the announcement. They were another group adamant in their stance against the culling.
"Many of us want to go out and shout the news to the deer," the East Hampton Group for Wildlife posted on their Facebook. "Congratulations to everyone who has worked against the cull, both in East Hampton and across Long Island. The law firm of Devereaux and Baumgarten did terrific work. To everyone: Your compassion has made a difference. There are still other culls pending, and lots of work to save swans and so many other animals, but goodness has prevailed at this time and this place."
Video Courtesy of the Press News Group YouTube Channel