Organized by the The East Hampton Group for Wildlife, which has already filed suit against East Hampton town, village, and the town trustees, organized the "No Cull" rally and demonstration.
East Hampton Town and Village, along with Southold Town, has agreed to a program that would eliminate 2,000 to 3,000 deer on the East End. The Long Island Farm Bureau secured $250,000 in grant funding to embark upon the United State Department of Agriculture's sharpshooter program to reduce the number of deer.
Demonstrators held signs that said, "No Science? No Cull!" and "Save the Deer," and "Please Don't Kill My Mommy."
Ron Delsener, the well-known rock concert promoter who has a house in East Hampton Village and is funding the group's lawsuit, helped kick off the rally by comparing former town councilman Dominick Stanzione, credited with the town's deer management plan, to former vice president Dick Cheney. "He never said let the local hunters do what they do every year," he said.
The rally started at the Hook Mill in East Hampton at 1 p.m. Demonstrators then marched with their signs to Herrick Park, with some chanting, "What do we want? Stop the cull. When do we want it? Now." They gathered at the park for about an hour for dispersing.
Bill Crain, a Montauk resident and founder of the Group for Wildlife, asked the crowd, largely East Hampton residents, to write the village and town boards. "Tell them: If they want to be re-elected, stop this cull. Change their minds. They don't have a chance of re-election if they are going to pursue if they are going to pursue this barbaric, murderous slaughter. Let them know, we will not stand for this," he said.
Scattered in the crowd were residents from outside East Hampton, such as Kelvin Bryant, a Yapank hunter who brought his 12-year-old son Benjamin with him in protest in support of Hunters for Deer and Long Island Archers. "They are spending thousands of taxpayers' dollars on this and we would do it for nothing and we have the same results that they would expect from the USDA culling these deer."
Police presence was low, though traffic control officers helped stop traffic for marchers to cross the street and for photographers to safely take photographs of the crowd.
The protest was peaceful except for one dust-up between Delsener and Patricia Hope, a former biology teacher who attended the rally to pass out fliers called, "Culling East Hampton's Deer Herds: There Is A Better Way To Do It."
Delsener yelled at Hope to leave. "It's my rally not yours," he said. You're an animal," he said. "She's for the cull," he told the crowd. "
However, Hope, a member of the East Hampton School Board, said Delsener didn't understand her position at all. Her flier states, "We don't need to bring riflemen to East Hampton to slaughter our white-tailed deer. We can address the control of conception within the herds." She wants to see East Hampton research immuno-contraception, an innovative method of birth control without the chemicals that contaminate other species.