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Deer Defenders: Friends of Animals and CARE File for Injunction to Block Valley Forge Bloodbath

October 26, 2010 | Deer

UPDATE: 5pm Wednesday 27 Oct: The judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has DENIED the Friends of Animals /CARE Motion for Summary Judgment. This gives the Park Service a green light to shoot the Valley Forge Deer. We hope Park officials show the patience, as they did last year, to hold off, as Friends of Animals will APPEAL the judge's decision.

26 October 2010

Deer Defenders: Friends of Animals and CARE File for Injunction to Block Valley Forge Bloodbath

Philadelphia -- Responding to Valley Forge National Historical Park's recent announcement that the deer in this suburban oasis are to be shot at until most are gone, Friends of Animals and Chester County's animal-advocacy group CARE are taking the matter to the judge.

"We filed a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction on Tuesday," announced Lee Hall of Friends of Animals.

"The case for the animals' lives has not yet been heard out, and Valley Forge officials seem unable to wait for the court's views rather than whipping out the rifles. There is no good reason for their lethal urge."

As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Friends of Animals and CARE halted the Park's deer-control plan last winter. The litigation team at the University of Denver is poised for a hearing on the lawsuit pending in federal court at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. If so ordered by the court, the Motion for Summary Judgment would set aside the deer-control plan for good.

"Many of those who live near and use the Park, including our clients, question the legality--as well as the morality--of the Park Service's plan to kill off the deer," said Kevin Lynch of the University of Denver's Environmental Law Clinic.

Lynch questioned the National Park Service's reason to rush ahead with an ill-conceived plan, and explained the urgency of the motion for the injunction: "Once the Park Service starts shooting the deer, there is no going back, whether the plan is lawful or not."

Friends of Animals and CARE are championing Valley Forge as a sanctuary for deer and other animals living there, as well as a place where people come to appreciate both our natural and human histories.

Said Lee Hall, "The United States Congress intended to promote such places by barring humans from interfering with the ecological balance in National Parks."

Hall added, "The point of the required public meeting at Valley Forge, with Pennsylvania Game Commission officials present, was to provide the public access to a forum where they can ask questions and express opinions. But the forum was so highly controlled that it was impossible to openly discuss the Park plan's major flaws."

Maryanne Appel, secretary of West Chester-based CARE, agreed: "Park officials have misled the public opinion in an effort to come out with only one result: deer control using guns and drugs that have no place in a National Park."

Comments

No one that knows love, or has ever known love, would be a party to such a senseless slaughter. David Forjan

It is a tragedy that humans value animals so little. I live in the mountains, and deal with the skunks, raccoons, snakes, etc. I even had a peeping moose looking in my bedroom window. I love these animals, the reptiles kind of scare me, and I still love them. I feel inadequate, I just filed for Social Security, and do not have any income. I can not do anything for the animals, they need money not my broken heart....

I am a local resident and I am so sad and angry about this. The park does not belong to the park officials making this decision. This is not "deer control", this is extermination. I might understand if the deer were starving and suffering, but they are not, they are healthy and robust. Nature abhors a vaccum, and when they kill all the deer currently residing in the park, more will come in from the surrounding areas to fill the void. There are deer all around here, especially north and west of the park. What then? Will they perpetually kill thousands and thousands of deer? The deer belong in the park. They are part of the park. Many people I talk to around here are unaware if the plans to kill the deer, and all are upset and angry when they hear of it. Is there anyone we can write to to voice our objections?

Dear Ms. Figueroa Bless your heart. One thing to do, at least. Ask as many as you can to attend our vigil/demonstration on the 7th. Let our voices be heard. Thank you. David Forjan

Although I do understand the need to control the deer population (I may not necessarily agree with it, but I suppose I understand it) I do not understand the need to shoot or poison them, especially in a national wildlife park! These parks are made to be a sanctuary, a place where we can interact with nature and observe peacefully, within a natural habitat. If the park is truly overpopulated, how about capturing the deer, HUMANELY, and relocating them. I do not believe killing them in an option! I believe it is lazy, ignorant and cruel; and I will do whatever necessary to prevent this from happening. I happen to live near this beautiful park and it also happens to be one of my most favorite, peaceful places to go. I cannot imagine this being spoiled by gunfire and poison! This is abhorent behavior to suggest such cruelty to these serene and beautiful creatures; and Valley Forge park officials should be ashamed of themselves!

Thanks, Danielle Paul. We did look into past instances of deer being relocated, and we ruled it out as an option. The mortality rate for relocated deer is high. Moreover, the Park is these animals' home; it's where they have grown up and interacted with the others in their group, with their terrain, and the food to which their sensitive digestive tracts are accustomed. The deer have never been pushed out, killed, or had pharmaceutical control imposed on them before, ever. So why not maintain the status quo for them? Why should we agree that they are problematic when their birthright is to live in the Park, and when National Park officials have a responsibility to conserve ecosystems (with all the respect that should mean for communities of conscious beings)? That Park is an oasis for the deer. Let's let it be. How many places are we going to push these animals out of? Let's insist on respect for these indigenous communities, and their interests in living in their homes. They are certainly not pushing us out of ours.

UPDATE: 5pm Wednesday 27 Oct: The judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has DENIED the Friends of Animals /CARE Motion for Summary Judgment. This gives the Park Service a green light to shoot the Valley Forge Deer. We hope Park officials show the patience, as they did last year, to hold off, as Friends of Animals will APPEAL the judge’s decision. For previous history of this decision, please see: "Let coyotes, not hunters, control Valley Forge deer, animal-rights advocates say" (18 Oct 2010) http://www.friendsofanimals.org/news/2010/october/let-coyotes-not-hunt.html "Valley Forge Park sets deer shoots after year's delay" (5 Oct 2010) http://www.friendsofanimals.org/news/2010/october/valley-forge-park-se.html "It's a Victory: Facing Lawsuit by Friends of Animals and CARE, Federal Officials Let the Deer Be" (Spring 2010) http://www.friendsofanimals.org/actionline/spring-2010/Victory.php "Friends of Animals and CARE Sue to Stop National Park Service Deer Control Plans" (12 Nov. 2009) http://www.friendsofanimals.org/news/2009/november/friends-of-animals-a.... "UPDATE: Hands off the Deer: Preserving the Peace in Valley Forge" (Feb. 2009) http://www.friendsofanimals.org/news/2009/february/update-hands-off-the.... Comment for the official record, on the draft White-Tailed Deer Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for Valley Forge National Historical Park (submitted Feb. 2009) http://www.friendsofanimals.org/programs/free-living/Deer_Management.htm

My heart hurts

The deer contribute to the parks allure and it is their/our sanctuary. There is no good reason for this cull. There are few safe havens for wildlife today that are so so often ran out of their space. They can use the dollars more wisely to contribute to much more worthwhile eco-conscious investments vs. drive the deer out so violently. "If" in fact the population were out of control (and no hard evidence it is)then the deer should not suffer due to the Parks negligence, nor should the fans of the deer. Who benefits from this? The USDA sharpshooters? Must be a hell of a salary.

PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW SHOOTIING DEER IN VALLEY FORGE PARK . THEY ARE ONE OF GODS GIFT TO MAN TO SEE AND LIVE AROUND , AND I REALY BELIEVE ANYONE TAKES ANY PART TO THIS DECISION OR SHOOTING , WILL HAVE TO ANSWER ATTHIER DEATH MARK

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