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UPDATE: Hands off the Deer: Preserving the Peace in Valley Forge

February 10, 2009 | Deer

UPDATE: Click here to see Friends of Animals' full comments, joined by CARE of the Delaware Valley.

A Message From Lee Hall, Legal director of Friends of Animals (8 Feb. 2009) -- Last month, I attended a public meeting held at Valley Forge National Historical Park. It's known historically as a six-month headquarters for George Washington, and, more recently, as a safe haven for deer in suburban Pennsylvania.

With a few dozen other area residents, I watched a public slideshow presentation geared to persuade us to accept agents from the US Department of Agriculture in the five-mile park, with orders to kill the vast majority of the deer over the next four winters, then spend future years controlling the deer with a lab-created birth control substance, most likely leuprolide, a hormone-based formula.

It sounds like a large, chaotic experiment on the grounds of the now-peaceful Valley Forge Park.

The plan was outlined by a biologist. We're expected to defer. Yet the plan isn't right, natural, or needed. It doesn't uphold cultural values or environmental awareness. It's eerie on every level.

Since 2005, the Valley Forge Park deer population has decreased. Still, park officials don't approve of the amount of vegetation this now-stable population is eating. But deer need special concern in decisions involving the ecological balance of a space. Ethically speaking, conscious beings aren't just a factor to erase to solve a perceived problem.

Deer have always eaten native plants, plants that naturally regenerate. Expansion of the Penn Turnpike is a genuine threat to native vegetation with which deer are simply symbiotic.

Moreover, biologists acknowledge that coyotes are beginning to make a comeback. And unlike bigger predators, coyotes could safely exist in a five-mile park. The coyote population will take time to rebound, but this means we should promote their role in the ecosystem of our region.

I call on all Friends of Animals members and supporters, and every reader of this blog, to speak up for Valley Forge Park as a rare safe spot for animal life in the midst of suburban shopping malls and road construction.

To donate to Friends of Animals and support our work dedicated to defending the safety and dignity of the deer, click here. And thank you again for supporting "Alternative A: no action" against the deer.


I support fully Alternative A - no action. Population control needs to be left to nature, the way it was intended to be. Thank you! Please submit this view here (deadline is Tuesday, 11.59pm):

Please note that I support Friends of Animals position in full. Killing is never a solution. I support alternative A. Thank you! Please submit this view here (deadline is Tuesday, 11.59pm):

I fully support alternative A, stop the killing of all living things!

We humans need to leave the deer and all wildlife alone. We keep invading their territory. They need a place to live and we keep destroying the habitat.

Amazing, isn't it? Humans, who are supposedly the "intelligent' species are the ones destroying nature and natural habitat. Leave the deer alone--let nature take its course. what's to be left for our children and grandchildren? Find better use for government money. This country is a mess, no need to waste money in this manner. I support Alternative A: no action. Maybe we should sterilize the crooks, oops I mean the bureaucrats who are running this country. I don't want my tax dollars going for this upsetting of nature.

Please support Alternative "A", No action Against the Deer. Friends of Animals deserves full praise and I support them for their committment of working to help save the lives of wildlife without interference by human beings who want to continue to destroy the planet; say NO to violence against the deer. Let them live in peace.

No actions against deer, please. It is the humans that are overpopulated and waste land for sprawl. This morning in CA they shot a cougar cub as dangerous because it walked down a street. I am tired of the war against nature and other species.

I support Alternative A, I am against the killing of the deer especially in Valley Forge, if this does occur you can bet we will never spend a day there again, I could not enjoy myself knowing I am standing in a killing field splattered with blood from inocent and beautiful deer. Please leave them alone, we love to see them and people there do more damage than the deer could ever do.

All this deer killing has to be stopped. Its the humans that are causing the problem for the deer. Taking their land away, allowing hunters to go where the deer sleep and their home and attract them, then slaughter them like they do in Weston CT and many other places. Now I read greenwich is going to tranquilize deer and fit them with GPS. Now what is that going to lead to? Make it easier to track groups of them and then hunt them down during hunting season now that they can be found with GPS. How pathetic is that. I support Alternative A. NO DEER KILLING

The deer in Valley forge are not "fenced in"? Are you kidding me??? I dare anyone to try to cross US 202, the PA turnpike or 422 during morning or evening rush hour during the months of October through February when deer travel the most in search of food. I support the planned deer kill, but was dismayed to learn that there was no plan to process the meat and donate it to families in need or homeless shelters as they do where I live. I also object to the introduction of coyotes or other predators, as they would have no problem heading west into populated areas. Blog editors' note: You're one of the state's l million hunters, and we really don't give a hoot about your dismay or aspirations to justify an obscene slaughter of deer whose habitat has already been cared up enough to accommodate an invasive species: the homo sapien. The deer at Valley Forge have sparce wooded areas left at a National Park too full of grass, roadways, sidewalks and theme park-type amusements. Leave these animals in peace, and kindly keep your hands off them.