CAYUGA HEIGHTS DEER IN DANGER – UPDATE ON PUBLIC MEETING

Since August 2009, QCA has been supporting local campaigners in Ithaca, New York State, where the trustees of Cayuga Heights are planning to kill the majority of deer who come into their gardens and eat the plants. Putting up fences to deter them is apparently not permitted.

The slaughter method now favoured is by Net & Bolt, a practice widely regarded as extremely inhumane – and in fact, banned in NY State, so a derogation will be required in this case.

We have on many occasions over the 18 months written to the trustees, receiving no useful response.

We have also contacted the local Quaker Meeting, who have not discussed this issue, which they describe as “highly charged” – their only role could perhaps be mediating between the two sides, which could be useful and we hope it will happen.

There follows a report on the Trustees’ Meeting on December 6th, after which there will be a consultation period until December 15th.

Last night was a wonderful demonstration of a community coming together. The Cayuga Heights residents who had the courage to speak out at the public hearing, several for the first time, were an inspiration. Likewise, a substantial number of residents from the larger Ithaca community applauded with their support, and then waited for two more hours before their comments would be heard.

At the end of the night, 25 citizens gave comments against deer-killing or against the proposed plan, and three more expressed support for alternatives to killing, while not opposing the current plan per se. There were many well-spoken people armed with facts about why the plan made no sense from a scientific basis, as well as providing moral arguments against it.

Meanwhile, 24 citizens spoke in favor of killing, demonstrating the polarizing effect of the trustees’ agenda: On the one hand, they are violating the core values of so many people by bringing mass slaughter into neighborhood backyards; on the other hand, they refuse to grant the most basic consideration to homeowners who simply want to put up the same kind of protective, 90% transparent deer fencing that people in neighboring municipalities have access to.

When compared with the last public hearing on this issue, held in the Fall of 2009, it’s clear there is a growing resistance to the growing insanity being proposed by the Cayuga Heights mayor and trustees. It’s also clear that Net & Bolt, labeled inhumane by many veterinary experts and humane societies, is now the method of choice for the planned mass slaughter. Mayor Kate Supron is extolling its “benefits” in the media, completely side-stepping Net & Bolt’s controversial reputation, and ignoring the fact that many of her constituents find it appalling and offensive to the values of this community.

One speaker, an 11-year resident of the village, said it was “unethical” and “uncivilized” that the trustees would not consider solving the conflict with fences… When interviewed by Channel 3 news, a Dr. Ralph Bishop said: “We encroached on their space, not they on ours. And I think this brutal slaughter is insane. I think ice storms do a lot more damage to our shrubs than deer.”

The barbarism of Net & Bolt was not lost on members of the media who were there, nor on many of the speakers who condemned the brutal and unnecessary violence. Here’s a report by Tamara Lindstrom of YNN that offers a concise summary of the hearing and what’s at stake for our community:

http://tinyurl.com/246wubm

And here is an Ithaca Journal article with a few other details of interest: http://tinyurl.com/2dvvnkj

Please see www.cayugadeer.org

We ask that members hold the deer and the excellent and committed campaigners in the Light.

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