Oak Bay has officially announced that 11 deer, 7 bucks and 4 does, have been killed by clover trap and bolt gun in Oak Bay’s long gestating deer cull. Mayor Nils Jensen has reported that the killing is now finished and that in the eyes of Oak Bay council the process was a “success.”
This news first broke on CBC’s Radio One program, On The Island, this morning; although we were aware that there would be an imminent news release going out about the cull beforehand. That was part of the reason for yesterday’s blog post. To put the pressure on Oak Bay just ahead of the permit deadline when we knew they would be preparing to speak about the cull publicly. Unfortunately, on CBC, CFAX, and elsewhere no questions of the deer head images were directly posed to Jensen. When I spoke to him yesterday about the images and he saw them online, his demeanor changed and he sounded very upset that they had surfaced. He did not deny that they were from the cull; he only accused whoever took the pictures of trespassing.
Here is Nils Jensen’s interview on CBC’s On The Island this morning.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195186331″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
Here is my interview on CFAX 107o for DeerSafe Victoria.
I think it is important to analyze what Nils reported, so I have put together 11 reasons why the points he made in his interview frame the cull as anything but a “success.”
- To start, let’s be perfectly clear; every deer life that was taken is that of an individual. No matter how painful or sad we will feel about the loss of their presence in our communities, ultimately the deer are the ones who suffer and whose essence is extinguished in the name of a politically driven pilot project. They are not just sources of “protein” as Jensen often refers to them as. There is no “success” in ending 11 meaningful lives.
- Jensen reported that the deer were trapped and “euthanized.” To euthanize someone means to end their life relieving them of pain or suffering. If Jensen believes that the deer were euthanized than he needs to prove they were already in pain or suffering, or admit that the clover trap/ bolt gun method causes the deer pain and suffering that needed to be relieved. If the latter is true than this would seem to acknowledge the method of killing as inhumane.
- Jensen also reported that the cull took place without disruption in the community. As I mentioned in my interview with CFAX 1070, the deer cull in Oak Bay has been headline news for months in Victoria and Oak bay with opponents of the cull being very vocal. Despite Oak Bay ignoring and disregarding the efforts of a great many citizens, advocacy, and activist groups in and out of Oak Bay to raise awareness of the inhumane, unscientific, and ineffectiveness of the cull, he seems pleased to speak about the whole process as innocuous. There has very likely been no issue more divisive in the community in recent history and he is invalidating the legitimate concerns of people by speaking this way.
- A pilot project is meaningless. There was no real purpose to the cull besides seeing if it could be pulled off in an urban area without being discovered or stopped by activists. Nils did mention how much planning went into picking the proper locations on private property for the traps and extensive work done to make sure there were no witnesses. He says that a report will be created to send to the CRD to share with other communities in the region as they consider moving forward with their own culls.
- They will not admit that 11 is a failure from their perspective, but it highlights point 4. They could have killed 1 and would probably still consider it a “success” if they got away with it.
- They didn’t actually get away with it. While we cannot say that the images of the deer heads posted previously were of Oak Bay deer for certain, it is very likely. Even if they are not of Oak Bay deer, the heads still represent the harsh truth of the cull. Many concerned citizens care deeply for the deer in their communities and see them as friends in the neighborhood. To see their decapitated heads is distressing for anyone and make no mistake that those images will haunt Oak Bay beyond today.
- DeerSafe Victoria and its allies will not stop. DeerSafe Victoria has been working on this issue for over 4 years, since the CRD first proposed their deer management strategy for the region. Kelly Carson of DeerSafe has gathered over 4000 signatures, mostly single handed, and has presented them to various municipalities in the CRD for consideration of the opposition against a cull. With Jensen making it perfectly clear that more culls will be organized next fall or winter, the work of DeerSafe Victoria and other anti-cull advocates continues.
- The cull is not over. Oak Bay has made clear it will be continuing the process and likely other communities will be using their model, based off the pilot project, to implement their own. Across the CRD deer will continue to be killed and the conflict that is being reported by a minority of people in these communities will continue because nothing will be solved as has been evidenced by research with similarly planned deer culls in almost every region they take place in. In many ways the real deer culls are just about to begin.
- Nothing of value has been achieved. There has been no public education, no public engagement, no enforcement of fines for feeding the deer, no actual research done about how many deer are actually in Oak Bay or the CRD, and no valuable information procured from the killing of 11 deer. Furthermore, there has been a great cost to taxpayers, over $150,000 to conduct a meaningless experiment of how to get away with killing deer in an urban setting.
- The complaints will continue. If those who invited the contractor into their back yard believe that they will no longer have deer “problems” because of the cull, they should be prepared for a rude awakening when other deer move in. There will still be fear-mongering by Oak Bay about the dangers of the deer, and they will still be villainized as lyme disease carrying, dog attacking, fence jumping terrors. Nothing has been done to change the behaviour of the people who have problems with the deer and how they react to them. This may be the greatest failure of all.
- Blood is on their hands. Oak Bay has killed 11 deer for the sake of political interest. They have ignored the intelligent and rational arguments from those opposed to the cull in favor of an arrogant approach of indifference to the lives they planned and did end. Blood is on the hands of the Nils Jensen and Oak Bay council as well as all those private citizens who welcomed the traps on their property. That blood will not be washed away with tomorrow’s news, nor will it be washed away with the seasons. It is a stain on their flesh that they will carry with them and that will mark them wherever they go from this day forward.
- One extra for the road. When you indiscriminately kill 7 bucks and 4 does, you are going to orphan a few fawns along the way. No consideration was taken as to the fear, trauma, and starvation of these deer who have lost their parents and guides on how to navigate an urban environment. Quiet likely they will killed by vehicles or by lack of ability to find appropriate food sources. As is often the case, the children suffer most.
While Oak Bay is preparing their report on the killing of 11 deer and patting themselves on the back, Animal Alliance of Canada has their report ready today for people to analyze. Hopefully this information will not be ignored by the CRD and other communities that are still considering options on how to co-habitate with urban wildlife. There is no information in this report that was not available to Oak Bay prior to making their decision to kill 11 deer with the support of the Capital Regional District and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources. Despite this, they consciously chose to ignore the substantial evidence against a cull in favour of an exercise in community division and violence. The only success they have achieved is proving their indifference and arrogance towards urban wildlife.[polldaddy poll=8716125]
The Critical Cat