The largest animal rights organization has its sights set on East Hampton.
Following a draft proposal to allow bowhunting to reduce deer populations in the town," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent out a mass email to its supporters, urging them to write the town board members to abandon the plan.
"Bowhunting is among the cruelest forms of hunting," the email, signed by Jodi Minion, a wildlife biologist with PETA. "Bowhunters often spend hours following bloody tracks before finding wounded deer. Many are not found, and their deaths are slow and painful as it can take weeks for them to succumb to their injuries. Families are then torn apart, and young and weak animals starve or die of dehydration."
PETA suggested sending "polite comments" to Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and the rest of the town board.
The group goes on to share tips for deer control, which include installing deer fences, reducing food sources, and having residents employ scare tactics such as motion detector-triggered lights/sprinklers, effigies of coyotes, and outdoor radios.
Councilman Dominick Stanzione presented a five-year deer management plan that would survey the current deer herd and allow interim increases of hunting across public and private land, while also developing non-lethal deer management methodologies, on April 30. The recommendations came from the research of a Deer Management Working Group, composed of both wildlife and hunting advocates.
Among the committee's recommendations were exploring opening additional co-owned land to bowhunting during the 2012 deer season, open the January firearms season to non-residents, facilitate nuisance permits for residential properties, apply for nuisance permits on town-owned land (while also sending more venison to local food pantires), and contract with a professional deer removal organization.
Asked to respond to PETA's message, Wilkinson said: "In this internet age, I think I have to adjust to an overall depersonalization of government. Grass roots government has a history of hearing from local constituents on whether they favor or disfavor an issue. We saw that stray, to some degree, when only 10 percent of the signatures were from Montauk."
He continued, "Now we see with the deer issue, it is not, once again, about us governing our backyards; it’s about interest groups engineering global governance."