The majority of the deer living in Cayuga Heights in New York State were scheduled for slaughter in December. The order has been suspended, due to an inability to get the required permission to shoot within 500 feet of residents’ properties. Quaker Concern for Animals has supported the campaigners by writing repeatedly – over four years – to the Trustees and local press and it is wonderful to hear the following news from the team:
At a public meeting earlier this week, the Cayuga Heights government announced that they are suspending their plan to perform a mass slaughter of deer in the Village! This unexpected turn of events comes only weeks before the killing was planned to begin. So the deer have been spared the barbarism — and all of us spared the trauma — that has threatened to destroy our community for the last four years.
A judicial injunction blocked the killing from taking place last winter, based on a legal challenge that included a scientific critique from national-level experts at Harvard, Tufts, Yale, and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Despite this, the injunction was rescinded this past June by a NY state Appellate court. This removed the last legal protection remaining for the deer, and Cayuga Heights Mayor Kate Supron announced in the media that the killing would begin in December.
For years now, Mayor Supron has insisted that Cayuga Heights residents are overwhelmingly in favor of her plan, and would support the mass shooting of animals in neighborhood yards, adjacent to countless homes and other highly populated areas. However, she and her fellow trustees were simply unable to convince or pressure enough land owners to allow firearms to be discharged within 500 feet of their homes – a permission required under New York state law. As a result, they were left with insufficient sites to lure in and kill the deer.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to the village residents who resisted the pressure, disinformation and scare tactics, banding together to stop this tragedy from unfolding. Many thanks are also due to those who participated in a multi-year effort to educate the community and stand against a plan that, from the get-go, was so clearly unscientific, unethical, and unsafe. In the end, our work together enabled reason, compassion, and common sense to prevail!
People came forward to help not just from the local area, from which some truly courageous people showed up to peacefully protest and speak out at meeting after meeting, enduring the trustees’ disrespect, derision, and at times, outright suppression. People from hundreds, even thousands of miles away, and from dozens of countries, signed our petition (12,429 to date), called elected officials, wrote letters, generated local, regional and national media coverage, donated legal services, professional skills and funds, organized international vigils, worked for political change within Cayuga Heights, and offered much needed moral support.
But our work is not quite over. While Mayor Supron has conceded that the killing cannot proceed, she qualifies her statement by adding, “for now.” [See: http://tinyurl.com/b7qmqan ].
The trustees’ new plan is to sterilize 145 deer over a period of two weeks, using the same contractor originally slated to kill the deer. Mayor Supron and her colleagues have publicly expressed an interest in reviving the killing plan if new laws can be passed that will enable the discharge of firearms closer than 500 feet to homes. In a meeting last week, the heinously cruel net & bolt option was also discussed by the trustees.
In short, while the killing has once again been blocked, we unfortunately cannot tell you that this battle is over for good. Incredibly, there is no indication that Mayor Supron or her fellow trustees have taken any of the extraordinary events of the last four years as an indication that backyard mass slaughter is a bad idea.
We will not rest until the kill program is permanently rescinded, and a long-term, non-violent alternative is implemented in Cayuga Heights, enabling deer and humans to peacefully co-exist.
Together, we have made a real difference, not just for the people and animals of this community, but for all of those fighting wildlife killing campaigns in other communities around the globe.
A better world is possible. Working together, we can help create it!
Remember the orphaned fawn who was being raised by a buck?
The buck in this photo is that fawn, grown up, who took on his own orphaned fawn to care for. The photographer – Alexandra Giordano, to whom many thanks – named the buck Tony Jr., after his dad.
~ Jenny, James and Eric, on behalf of CayugaDeer.org
CITIZENS FOR SAFE, ETHICAL AND RATIONAL APPROACHES TO REDUCING DEER-HUMAN CONFLICT
~ QCA awaits news on how we can support the group to achieve a permanent humane resolution to this situation. We did write to Friends at Ithaca Monthly Meeting, but they did not appear to adopt an opinion and we are unclear if they involved themselves in the matter.
In the meantime, as the photo above reveals, the circle of compassion continues in the deer families.
Thanks to the wonderful Cayuga team for their compassion in action too!