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.”