(NB I’d first published this blog in August of 2012.)
I’m encouraged to see an increasing number of people conscious of the footprint they leave on the natural world. I’m seeing more and more industrial and private installations producing clean energy. Restaurants are abandoning Styrofoam containers. More of my neighbors are putting out recycling containers at the curb and going paperless for conducting family business.
What troubles me today is the huge impact hoofprints are having on local environments and the persons who have set up regular feeding stations for deer. To do so is illegal in many states—VA, NY, CO, CA, MO, IL—for all or part of a year.
I object to feeding he deer because it’s unhealthy for a species to give it foods that are incompatible with its body’s needs.
It’s also unhealthy for a species to be protected from the natural laws of the animal universe. As Tennyson observed, Nature can be “red in tooth and claw,” weeding out the frail and genetically unfit. Survival of the fittest is how biogeneticists explain the rise and perpetuation of healthy species.
Besides harming the deer, Feeders are contributing to the overpopulation and over concentration of deer in Mentor as surely as strip malls and developments are.
In their defense, Feeders say that the deer would die without the supplemental food they provide and that they have the right to feed the deer. I won’t argue with Feeders, but I will remind them that rights are accompanied by responsibilities. And that actions often bring about unintended consequences.
One of the consequences of feeding the deer is that they survive and continue to destroy habitat and property, including cars, in the community. If Feeders insist on their “right” to feed, I respectfully ask that they take responsibility for the deer’s consequent actions and offer recompense to their neighbors and the community for the deer’s destructive actions.
Recompense and fines can become expensive. I’d settle for Feeders’ confining the deer and their destruction to their own property. Or at least keeping them on a leash, as they would other pets they love and tend to.
One more thing I ask of Feeders: get used to the idea that your rights end where your neighbors’ and community’s property lines begin.