[The Swarthmorean is a newspaper in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, USA covering general news, as well as local news and events in the Swarthmore area.]
18 Dec. 2008
Swarthmore Deer Kill
To the Editor,
Winter break has arrived. For the deer in Crum Woods, it's the eleventh hour. A permit to shoot them has yet to arrive from Pennsylvania's Game Commission. Perhaps officials recalled the danger posed by suburban sharpshooters. (A bullet can travel 2 - 2-1/2 miles.)
But game officials promote hunting; and killing at Swarthmore, regardless of the stated reason, helps justify that position. Permits could be approved today, over the holidays, or in future seasons. Students should seize the moment, take a stand. Once shooting starts, it's cyclical: people look away and pay the pros to shoot and shoot again. It's up to students to press administrators to instead resolve conflict through creative thought and action.
Others in similar situations have had substantial success with a variety of natural answers: native deterrent plants and strategically placed fences.
Some advocates have recommended an experimental contraceptive on the deer.
Porcine zona pellucida, or PZP, is not a sound alternative. Derived from pigs, it's being tested in deer - and, by extension, on entire food chains.
It's offered as bloodless animal control, preventing future generations from ever appearing, even as our own species spreads out ever further with our roads, malls, schools, and mansions.
May the Swarthmore community press for answers that genuinely respect the autonomy and dignity of the deer, and the health of the ecology.
To the Editor:
The stature of Swarthmore College casts long shadows. To young people of our generation, it was the gold standard when it came to where the best students would receive the best education at a small liberal arts college.
It's not just because of its excellent faculty. And not just because of its emphasis on seminars and tutorials. No, although the college severed its ties with its Quaker founders in the early twentieth century, the Quaker spirit remained alive and well. To march to the beat of a different drummer: well, that could serve as Swarthmore's historic motto.
Contrary to everything the college has stood for, it now plans to use violence: killing deer is an unnecessary, anachronistic and inefficient means to protect Crum Woods.
There are nonlethal means of reducing the deer herd that are effective, cheaper than constant culling, humane and not dangerous to humans. Allen Rutberg, Ph.D. one of the world's leading experts, states: "We're confident that our one shot PZP vaccine reduces pregnancy rates by 75-80% over at least two years."
Why not set an example and show Swarthmore students how science can make the world a more peaceful place?