For the third year in conjunction with shotgun hunting season, Montauk residents Bill Crain and his wife Ellen Crain have set out on a three-day hunger strike as a protest to hunting in East Hampton Town. Shotgun hunting season began on Jan. 3 and lasts all month.
Wearing a sign that read "Hunger Strike for Deer" around his neck, Bill Crain briefly interrupted a jam-packed town board meeting on Tuesday that had been .
The outburst, in which Crain announced his mission, was short. Outside of , Crain said the town board had allowed hunting to become unusually cruel.
"This year the board added 89 acres for the bow hunting of deer, even though numerous studies around the country have found that about half the deer hit by arrows are wounded and left to die slow, agonizing deaths," the Crains' handout said. They founded East Hampton Group for Wildlife in 2004, and have sought alternatives, such as deer contraception, to hunting.
"Just to add acres of bow hunging is excepptionally cruel," Crain said. Of the hunger strike, which the couple started on Monday night, he said, "It's a way of expressing the depth of our concern for the suffering of the deer."
Ellen Crain said the hunger strike is difficult, but "Everytime I think of my headache, I think of the deer getting shot."
While the Crains said they know hunting is regulated by the State Department of Environmental Conservation, they called for the town to take charge. They would like the town and the DEC to ban bow hunting and for the town to develop a plan to eliminate hunting on town-owned lands.
Theresa Quigley, a town board member, who asked Bill Crain to step aside when he interupted the meeting said later that she had no problem with their protest or presence. "What was not fine was Mr. Crain's interruption of all of those people who had waited so patiently and gracefully for their turn to speak" during the open forum on storm erosion.
"I did say to him at the end, 'Mr. Crain, imagine if everyone simply walked up and did what you did. It would be pure chaos.'"