Gross But Needed

The Deer Slaughter Starts Tonight

Stay out of upper Rock Creek Park tonight, especially if you're wearing antlers.

This sounds rather gross, but one reckons it's necessary:

The deer of Rock Creek Park have so far avoided a depopulation plan announced last May, thanks to a lawsuit and no thanks to the efforts of an unsanctioned hunter, but they can't live forever. The National Park Service's deer culling finally starts tonight, according to a press release from the agency.

But this is no light spring cleaning! The culling, which will go on nightly through Saturday, is part of a plan to take the deer population from 70 deer per square mile to 15 to 20 deer per square mile.

The Park Service will be closing eight roads around the park from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. nightly through Saturday for the slaughters.

The Animal Welfare Institute is less amused:

But the park is now a killing ground for white-tailed deer. The National Park Service (NPS) has ordered their slaughter, which started on the evening of Wednesday, March 27, and will continue through Saturday, March 30. Bait is being used to lure the deer—most of whom have grown up within the protective boundaries of the park and some of whom are heavily pregnant—to specific sites within the park, where they are being gunned down by sharpshooters or netted and then the terrified animals are killed by penetrating captive bolt gun, chemical injection, or by bleeding. The NPS kept its plan secret in an attempt to avoid a backlash from the humane community.

I drive through upper Rock Creek Park all the time, and I can tell you that the little buggers are everywhere. It's not their fault, of course, but they have no natural predators. Nature kept this sort of thing in balance in the old days, but now the big beasts of the Eastern wildnerness are gone (our fault, I suppose), and something has to be done.

What I can't get a read on here is what they're doing with the meat. I should hope the city's homeless people will be munching on some venison burgers for the foreseeable future. An acquired taste, but I think very yummy indeed. A reduction like that will surely yield many pounds.