A municipality of Long Island, New York withdrew from one of the Federal government's largest proposed deer culling programs last week because of strong public opposition.
The New York Times reported that Town and Village of East Hampton's decision to withdraw from the program stemmed from law suits filed against the town by activists opposed to the program and strong public opposition. Last Thursday, a temporary restraining order that was part of the suits was filed to prevent the program from moving forward. A day later the village and town's officials said they were no longer going to participate in the deer culling program.
"The intended goal was to be a regional effort and that doesn't appear to be happening," said village administrator Becky Molinaro.
The deer culling program was intended to thin the region's burgeoning deer population, which is estimated at 25,000 to 35,000. The overpopulation of deer in the area has caused vehicular accidents, damage to agriculture and landscaping, and has the spread of lyme disease that is carried in deer ticks. It was to be one of the largest federal deer culling programs ever undertaken by the government.
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Regional officials had called on the US Department of Agriculture and the Long Island Farm Bureau to bring in sharpshooters to hunt the deer at night using rifles equipped with silencers. The deer culling program was slated to last three years with the intention of killing 2,000 to 3,000 deer each year.
But the program faced a strong opposition since its inception by a number of people in the community. In addition to a petition drive and a number of law suits against the town and village, opponents held a demonstration on Jan. 18 in the village that drew hundreds of attendees.
Whether or not the program will continue remains uncertain.