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National Park Service Continues its War on Animals

April 10th, 2014 by Anja Heister

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These days urban deer have too many enemies and too few friends. The consortium of those who mercilessly order urban deer to die sadly includes the National Park Service (NPS) at whose hands hundreds, perhaps even thousands of innocent deer have already been killed, with an increasing death toll yet to come. The most recent kill numbers come from Rock Creek Park, a 4.4 square mile natural oasis in the heart of our nation’s capital. Once a natural gem, Rock Creek Park has now become a killing field since last year when the National Park Service instituted its deer-killing program that destroyed the lives of at least 20 deer, gentle deer who once called the park their home. What was left this year, after 106 deer were murdered were blood spatters in the snow and destroyed deer families; families that are left frightened, confused, and no longer equipped with a sense of a secure home.

Rock Creek Parks deer—106 innocent deer, who were just trying to carve out a living in our urban jungle and trying to survive—were killed by hired-guns with the USDA Wildlife Services agency (WS). Formerly named the Animal Damage Control agency, we have accusingly branded the WS the “Wildlife Disservices” for their track record of killing over one million animals every year—native or not,—mostly on behalf of ranchers and the livestock industry. WS has expanded its killing services and although the agency is under severe scrutiny for its brutal yet tax-funded predator control program, the NPS has no qualms in contracting with the agency’s so-called “sharpshooters”. This term is a misnomer designed to deceive the public into thinking that deer killed by “sharpshooters” die quickly and painlessly. However they often do not. In many cases deer targeted by “sharpshooters” are merely injured and suffer from wounds, sometimes even several wounds, after which the deer flees back into the forest and is then left to suffer a prolonged, painful death that can last for several hours, even days.

This is what amounts to a governmentally orchestrated war against innocent animal lives. The tragic irony is that this war is being carried out by the very governmental agency whose first mandate is to be a steward for the park lands and their inhabitants. Added misery comes from state wildlife agencies, who literally “produce” deer for the hunters to shoot in so-called wildlife “management” units, where habitat is manipulated to attract deer while their populations are managed below the habitat’s biological carrying capacity in order to produce the highest number of offspring. A 2010 publication of The Wildlife Society proudly proclaims that due mostly to federally-funded “restocking” programs, “white-tailed deer numbers have risen from approximately 500,000 in the early 1900s to roughly 20 million today.” Increasing (not reducing) deer numbers is the money-making modus for generating revenues for state wildlife agencies, a fact that is disguised as scientific “wildlife/deer management,” to meet the unstated objective of increasing hunting “opportunities”. It is no wonder then that surviving deer seek shelter and refuge in urban settings, at least temporarily to escape the war zones caused by hunters’ flying, deadly bullets. And now, yet another governmental agency; the National Park Service, has responded with further bloodshed. Our urban deer are now essentially war refugees seeking a place they perceive to be safe to raise their families and live their lives.

Urban deer find friends only outside of these government agencies. In Defense of Animals (IDA) and a growing army of those who appreciate deer for who they are, are fighting fiercely for these gentle ungulates.By educating the public about ongoing injustices and crimes committed against deer, we continue our fight for those lives that are so often forgotten and ignored.

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