First, thank you to the city council and the city of Ann Arbor for reaching out to get citizen input. And Mr. Bahl, Mr. Fleetham, and Ms. Bissell for organizing and driving this meeting. Second, I’d like to thank all those who have participated, either online or in meetings like this; this sort of process is key to good and successful government.
You will hear tonight from many sources, citing studies and historical data, experts in ecology, environmental sciences and botany. I won’t take your time repeating that information…not only can you hear it in other comments but you can find it online at sites that are being promoted in handouts. It’s great data and incredibly valuable…I’ll let it speak for itself. I can tell you what is clear to me, after studying years of analysis from institutions and communities in Michigan, the Midwest and the East Coast, that:
* the deer situation is shifting; populations are growing and incursion is spreading
* habitat change is driving deer into populated regions
* the risk and destruction are increasing, both on an ecological basis and from a public safety perspective
* there is a range of options, but the two primary solutions are contraception and culling
* a number of communities have already wrestled with this issue and usually end up choosing to cull; contraception is ineffective and expensive
I’d like to address in my short time, though, a very foundational issue that comes up in virtually every discussion I have around the issue of deer management in Ann Arbor: is culling consistent with the values of Ann Arbor?
I have four thoughts on this:
* first. Allowing the Situation to grow is not a value of this town. If we don’t address this now, we’ll be back here next year or the next, and the numbers will be greater and even more unpalatable. And hopefully we won’t be talking about a human fatality.
* second, managing on a home by home basis doesn’t solve the problem, it merely rewards the most diligent and capable. If I fence and spray, the deer go next door. NIMBY, not in my backyard, is not a value.
* third, control through harassment, random denial of food, trapping, or death by hood ornament is less humane than focused, clear and deliberate action.
* last, we value nature; what is happening is not natural. Deer and urban areas are incompatible. Racing across congested roads is not natural. Being chased by people and dogs is not natural. Fencing our properties and spreading caustic agents is not natural. Eliminating predators is not natural. We should encourage population management techniques that are consistent with the current ecological capacity.
We’re not alone. This issue has been around in other communities for years. We can learn from their mistakes and successes. These include college communities like ours. We are a community that values learning and adjusting our response to match the circumstances. The policies that worked before are no longer effective.
#A2manydeer #wc4eb #realfactsabouturbandeer