Vassar College conducted a deer cull at the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve (VFEP) in January of 2010, killing 64 deer and leaving a population of 9. The method used in 2010 -- which consisted of baiting deer and actively killing pregnant does -- was considered inhumane even by local hunters. Another cull is planned for January of 2013 and the school has stated that deer culls "will most likely need to continue every few years."
While decreased biodiversity at the VFEP is a real problem, deer culling is not a long-term, sustainable solution, as evidenced by the plan to conduct culls indefinitely. This is in large part due to the compensatory rebound effect, whereby deer begin birthing twins and triplets instead of singlets due to a large decrease in population size.
This petition calls upon the Farm Oversight Committee to:
1) Halt the proposed January 2013 cull
2) Further explore alternative population management options, such as immunocontraception
3) Implement increased biodiversity restorative practices, such as the active planting of depleted plant species and native deer-deterrent plant species.
We, a coalition of Vassar College students and local community members as the group Science Over Slaughter (SOS), see that the VFEP is in a unique position to help lead the charge for more humane and scientific deer management systems, while rejecting ineffective programs that have proven to be only short-term solutions.