URGENT: Stop the senseless killing of deer at Binghamton University (NY)!
  • Petitioned Nancy Zimpher

This petition was delivered to:

Chancellor of SUNY
Nancy Zimpher
B.U. V.P. Administration
James Van Voorst
B.U. Committee of University Environment
Julian Shepherd
B.U. President
C. Peter Magrath
B.U. President
C. Peter Magrath
B.U. President
Harvey G. Stenger

URGENT: Stop the senseless killing of deer at Binghamton University (NY)!

    1. Italia Millan
    2. Petition by

      Italia Millan

      Auburn Hills, MI

Binghamton University in Upstate New York is planning to slaughter 90% of the deer in their Nature Preserve, at a cost of $20,000.00 dollars +. As we understand, this is NY taxpayers' dollars. The slaughter was scheduled to take place over the Christmas break (starting December 21, 2011), but on December 23, 2011 a state Supreme Court judge put brakes on the plan ruling that the university must comply with the State Environmental Quality Review Act process in order to do the "culling." While the deer killing is on indefinite hold, BU officials have expressed that they will comply with the ruling.

Julian Shepherd Ph.D., who heads up The Committee of the University Environment, and Dylan Horvath, steward of nature areas at the university, are blaming the deer for eating flowers and for forest regeneration problems. However, their claims are not supported by any scientific evidence. B.U. didn't even do a deer survey or an environmental impact study.

Many forest experts disagree with the general premise of their claims. "Acid rain is more responsible than white-tailed deer for forests not regenerating ... They can kill all the deer, but it will take a lot more than that to fix the forests.", claims Bill Sharpe, a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences forest hydrologist, "Penn State Expert Blames Forest Problem on Acid Rain, Not Deer", Penn State Live, 5/17/02. In a recent landmark study, "Regional-Scale Assessment of Deer Impacts on Vegetation Within Western Connecticut, USA", Angela C. Rutherford, et al., School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, (Journal of Wildlife Management 74(6):1257-1263. 2010) concluded that deer density is not a leading factor determining variation in vegetation impacts. And a recent study at Ohio State University, "Indirect Effects of a Keystone Herbivore Elevate Local Animal Diversity", Katherine Greenwald, et al., Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology (Journal of Wildlife Management 72(6):1318-1321; 2008) found that the presence of deer is actually helpful to other animal species, and that programs to reduce their populations may be detrimental to a region’s biodiversity. "Culling deer may cascade into affecting plants, salamanders and other creatures in ways we can’t even imagine," said OSU researcher Katherine Greenwald. "Officials need to know more about the forest ecosystem before making decisions about wildlife management." Another study showed that some forest understory-dwelling birds benefit from deer-grazing, and that the presence of deer decreased populations of rodents that preyed on ground birds’ nests.

This deer slaughter will not achieve B.U.'s objectives, and trying to keep deer at unrealistic low levels poses an insurmountable challenge. Culling or hunting deer will trigger compensatory reproduction. The deer population will rebound quickly, and deer from adjacent areas will quickly fill the void, leading to an endless cycle of killing.

The forest ecology in B.U.'s Nature Preserve is no different than the rest of the forest areas in New York State. That said, a nature preserve should remain untouched and allowed to evolve naturally without human intervention. In reviewing the history and mandate of B.U.'s Nature Preserve, it said that, " In order to preserve its natural beauty and intrinsic value it was suggested that hunting, littering, use of motorized or wheeled vehicles, picking of plant life, and harassment of animal life be prohibited throughout the entire area."

If B.U. wants to create a protected environment to grow wildflowers that can't be affected by wildlife, then B.U. should explore creative fencing alternatives, or build an arboretum. If B.U. insists on interfering with the natural processes within the Nature Preserve, then a deer contraception program should be considered. Contrary to what Mr. Horvath believes, there are a number of scientific peer-reviewed studies that document deer contraception effectiveness, reducing deer populations by approximately 40-60%.

The DEC spends millions of dollars annually to artificially propagate the deer population for maximum sustained yield for their 3% hunter constituents. Deer populations stabilize on their own in relation to the available food supply. Culling or hunting will only reduce the deer population temporarily and trigger compensatory rebound, which will increase the deer population the following year. Please refer to the article, "The Paradox of Killing Wildlife to Control Populations" (http://politicswildlife.blogspot.com/2010/10/paradox-of-killing-wildlife-to-control.html). And just an update for Mr. Horvath, there are 20-30,000 coyotes (predators) in New York State, i.e. he said that coyotes were hunted out a century ago.

Please send Binghamton University a strong message to stop the deer slaughter, and not to turn their Nature Preserve into a private hunting and killing preserve.

Thank you

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 8,000 signatures
    2. The BU deer debate continues

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      The local paper published two opposing views this week: One against cull (http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20120111/VIEWPOINTS02/201110309/Guest-Viewpoint-Stop-men-guns-from-making-our-decisions) and one in favor (http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20120113/VIEWPOINTS02/201130303/Guest-Viewpoint-BU-s-choice-painful-cull-has-done). BU officials say they plan to continue working through the process to get a cull approved, but Italia and local activists are keeping the pressure on the university to find non-lethal alternatives to managing the preserve.

    3. BU deer cull plan "off for now"

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      The university will not be able to meet the court's requirements this month, and they don't want to move ahead with the deer cull once the students are back. During the months the university will be preparing their environmental assessment, local residents are pushing for official to consider humane alternatives.

    4. Deer Cull on Hold Pending Study

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Just before the end of the year, State Supreme Court Justice Molly Fitzgerald ruled that BU failed to comply with the State Environmental Quality Review Act and must undergo an environmental impact study before proceeding with any deer cull. The University has said it plans to conduct the study, but no timeline has been released yet. Stay tuned, and help Italia keep the pressure on.

    5. Reached 6,000 signatures
    6. Judge delays decision in deer case

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      This morning, the state supreme court justice heard arguments in the hearing to stop the BU deer cull. She chose to reserve her decision while she reviews the case. If she rules against the plaintiffs, the killing will likely start within days of her decision, unless you help Italia keep the pressure on BU to change their plans.

    7. Deer shooting on hold pending court decision

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      A former BU English professor and the group In Defense of Animals are taking the university to court to stop the deer shootings. The court date is scheduled for December 22. Keep spreading the word to urge the university not to kill 90% of the deer in its nature preserve.

    8. Reached 1,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • HOLLY KIRK EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 2 years ago

      Animals are able to regulate their own populations and do not need human intervention. Fence off specific 'garden' areas if need be.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Joanna Clark LOS ANGELES, CA
      • about 2 years ago

      Leave these dear alone, they are not bothering anyone and they are beautiful to look at. Greed is such an unpleasant human quality.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dianne Ramsarran LINDENHURST, NY
      • about 2 years ago

      Deers are harmless animals! What is wrong with this country, these people???

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • DIANE KASTEL WHEATON, IL
      • about 2 years ago

      If B.U. wants to create a protected environment to grow wildflowers that can't be affected by wildlife, then B.U. should explore creative fencing alternatives, or build an arboretum. If B.U. insists on interfering with the natural processes within the Nature Preserve, then a deer contraception program should be considered. Contrary to what Mr. Horvath believes, there are a number of scientific peer-reviewed studies that document deer contraception effectiveness, reducing deer populations by approximately 40-60%.

      The DEC spends millions of dollars annually to artificially propagate the deer population for maximum sustained yield for their 3% hunter constituents. Deer populations stabilize on their own in relation to the available food supply. Culling or hunting will only reduce the deer population temporarily and trigger compensatory rebound, which will increase the deer population the following year. Please refer to the article, "The Paradox of Killing Wildlife to Control Populations" (http://politicswildlife.blogspot.com/2010/10/paradox-of-killing-wildlife-to-control.html). And just an update for Mr. Horvath, there are 20-30,000 coyotes (predators) in New York State, i.e. he said that coyotes were hunted out a century ago.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Maarten Weehuizen HONG KONG, HONG KONG
      • about 2 years ago

      If a university - of all places - can't even provide the scientific evidence to justify animal killing, then really there is no-one who can provide a good reason to kill animals at all! Its not a couple of deer who are harming the environment, its 7 billion people, and the cars that they drive, and the forests they chop down for agricultural lands, and the oil spills they create etc. etc. Why can't we just let nature be nature, it will regulate itself just fine as it has done for thousands and thousands of years.... Please set the right example and do the right thing for the world!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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