Doubts about deer economic study
Published: 07:00 p.m., Thursday,
September 2, 2010
The "Economic Impact of Deer Overpopulation in Fairfield County, CT"
presents some staggering conclusions.
People in Greenwich
collectively are out more than $15 million a year because of deer, the study
claims. The vast majority of that is due to the cost of environmental and
landscaping damage, but also costs associated with Lyme disease and
The figure in Stamford is $11.3 million, also mostly
due to environmental and landscaping damage.
Forgive us for being
Why? For starters, the study was commissioned by
several groups, including the
Fairfield County Municipal Deer Management Alliance, that are strong
advocates for tougher deer-management policies -- which almost always means
mass killings of the animals.
Then there is the methodology of the
study itself. According to the two researchers at
New York Medical College who performed the study, data were based in
part on a "comprehensive" 2003 survey of residents in Bernards Township,
Call us ignorant about methodologies of academic studies,
but if we ever base policy on survey numbers, let's make sure they are our
own, not derived from somewhere else.
Plus, when we looked at the New
Jersey study, it revealed that its findings were based on 775 responses.
Bernards Township is a community of nearly 24,000 residences. Again, call us
ignorant, but that does not sound "comprehensive" to us.
that said, it is true that many, many people in Fairfield County often pay
large amounts to replace landscaping destroyed by deer. We do not believe
that justifies mass killings of the animals, however.
Lyme disease is
a more serious matter by far, and a greater problem in Connecticut than
anywhere else. But if the most often quoted numbers are to be trusted,
hunting will not solve the problem.
According to officials in both
Stamford and Greenwich, there are roughly 60 deer per square mile in both
municipalities. Groups like the Deer Management Alliance hold that the
number has to be reduced to 10-12 per square mile to prevent Lyme disease.
That would mean in these two communities alone, some 5,700 deer would need
to be slaughtered -- and that's without factoring in their reproduction
rate. Does anyone want to see that happen?
How can we significantly
reduce Lyme disease? There are several theories, and frankly, we're not sure
what the answer is. But it's not a problem we are going to kill our way