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Kansas City News Blog
'Funeral motorcade' for Shawnee Mission Park deer this afternoon

By Carolyn Szczepanski
Wed., Dec. 9 2009 @ 7:00AM

The deer death toll has already surpassed 300, but the activists in Bite Club of KC aren't about to give up their campaign to save the fuzzy mammals in Shawnee Mission Park.

Canadian activist, Anthony Marr

​Today, though, their tone is taking a turn -- from road-blocking, blood-spattering, deer-head-hoisting outrage to a somber death march.
According to earlier reports from the Johnson County Park and Recreation District, the first deer harvest in November didn't pare down the overpopulated deer herd to ecologically manageable levels, so today marks the opening of a bow hunt by carefully screened archers. At 2 p.m., activists are planning a grim "funeral motorcade" as a means of protest, cruising their placard-plastered cars through Shawnee Mission Park, Oak Park Mall and, finally, Johnson County Community College.

It won't be Jason Miller leading this charge, though. Anthony Marr, an animal rights activist from Canada, traveled to Kansas City for the motorcade this afternoon. And tonight he'll use the Shawnee Mission Park controversy as a platform to launch an international anti-hunting coalition.

Marr has been all over the map in his 14 years as an animals rights activist. He's led campaigns against traditional Chinese medicine manufactured from endangered species. He's tracked down poachers of Bengal tigers in India, organized protests against whale hunting in Japan and, most recently, toured for months at a time through the U.S. and Canada to raise objections to recreational hunting. This summer, he joined Bite Club's campaign to stop the deer hunt in Shawnee Mission Park.

"There's no anti-hunting campaign hotter than this one," Marr says.

His name is familiar to officials in Johnson County. Marr came up with the schematics for a "deer sanctuary," a system of one-way gates that would lure animals into an enclosed area where they would be fed and treated with contraceptive drugs. Marr insists such a system would cost far less than bullets and bow hunts, but park officials shot it down as inconsistent with Kansas wildlife regulations.

But Marr's in town with a more long-term agenda -- one he'll lay out at 6 tonight in Craig Auditorium at Johnson County Community College. His presentation, he says, will highlight the cruelty of current hunting methods, outline his detailed plan for the deer sanctuary and announce the formation of the Global Anti-Hunting Coalition.

"This is going to be huge," he says of the GAHC. "The purpose is to have a global structure so the entire weight of the anti-hunting coalition can descend on a local campaign with huge resources. So you'd have the entire world coming down on Kansas City."

Two of the anti-hunting group's board members will be on hand for the presentation. Anthony Damieno, an activist from Florida, is flying up from the Sunshine State for the occasion. The other is already a resident of Johnson County. Yep, you guessed it. Jason Miller.

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