Ardmore, PA, US — Members of the Pennsylvania Chapter of Friends of Animals (FoA-PA) and the West Chester based group Compassion for Animals, Respect for the Environment (CARE) will be visible on the Main Line today, publicly opposing the Township’s decision to kill white-tailed deer.
The opposition will be visible from 2:30 pm until 4:00 pm today in front of the Township Administration Building, adjacent to the large Main Line Honda dealership on East Lancaster Avenue (Route 30), Ardmore, PA 19003.
Agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been asked by the Township to reduce the deer populations from a number in the range of 44 to 58 deer per square mile down to only 6 to 10 per mile. Township officials claim the killing is necessary to protect residents and visitors from Lyme disease and vehicle accidents with deer, and to reduce the effects of browsing.
“Bringing sharpshooters to suburban Philadelphia isn’t the right answer,” said Secretary of the Pennsylvania Chapter of Friends of Animals Matthew McLaughlin. “Deer are conscious beings, with communities and social ties, and they are part of a bigger balance. We need to teach our children to respect nature and the animals living in our midst. Moreover, killing them causes them to rebound; we know what this cycle looks like.”
McLaughlin said ticks would find other hosts in the absence of deer ““ such as family pets.
The killing began last month, from the 16th until the 19th, when Friends of Animals and CARE opposed it publicly. A second spate of killing began yesterday and is expected to continue through the 17th of December, when Lower Merion Township plans to evaluate the effects of the killing.
Notably, even in areas where Lyme disease is endemic, upwards of 70-80 percent of the ticks are not infected with Borrelia burgdorferi. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infection Diseases, the actual risk of becoming infected after being bitten by a tick in a Lyme disease endemic area is estimated to be only 1.4 percent.
The Township’s Special Use Permit from the Pennsylvania Game Commission allows the Township to carry out the killings from November 2009 through September 2010. But FoA-PA and CARE believe it is possible for human beings and white-tailed deer to peacefully co-exist, and points out that they already do so. The groups ask their members and others to protest.