Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Deer Advocates: Letter-Writing to CRD

Speaking Up For Greater Victoria Deer
Advocating for Human Management, not Deer Management
Greater Victoria Deer Advocates, Victoria, British Columbia
(On Facebook:

Dear deer advocates,

Friends of Animals is calling on all deer advocates to write the Capital Regional District (CRD) to encourage the adoption of a human management strategy, rather than a deer management strategy.

It needs to be recognized that we humans have encroached on their territory, and continue to reduce green spaces (and predators), leaving few alternatives for already declining deer communities. (Vancouver Island populations have dropped from estimates of 200,000 to 50,000 deer in the last 30 years.)

We do not need to attempt to control deer populations, as we've demonstrated ad naseum: we as a species are fantastically inept at predicting all outcomes when meddling with nature, with undesired and unexpected consequences often being the outcome. In this light, we really ought to be managing our own behaviours. Simply reducing deer numbers (through killing or contraception) fulfills a significant law of nature: "Nature abhors a void". Killing deer in an area results in more plant growth, which will eventually draw more deer, who will need more killing (or contraception), in an endless cycle, if the CRD follows this route.

If we manage our own spaces, and change our own behaviour, we can find a happy and sustainable medium that addresses the main concerns of the CRD and local population. This includes:

* driving at reasonable speeds
* erecting more warning signs (be creative with design to get attention)
* promote provincial grants for fencing where necessary (specifically for farms)
* provide educational information and materials that are easy to access

Home owners must accept that deer may be active near-by, and take steps such as utilizing native plants that deer are unlikely to eat. When enough homes become unappealing, areas will no longer be attractive to deer, and they will reside elsewhere - and not return.

Really though, it is a privilege to share our spaces with deer and other animals, and we really need to foster this attitude. With some effort, given how green Victoria is, we can welcome nature safely into our spaces, and co-exist peacefully with the rest of the non-human world.

Please take a few minutes to write a letter to the CRD - we're encouraging letters that include the following three main points:

* expectation of human management plans instead of deer management
* express sentiments of deer appreciation
* flatly oppose any and all killing of deer

Please send your email to or use this online form: - feel free to CC or post your letter to our blog. Spread the word, and tell your friends and other animal advocates.

Also, we encourage you to sign the letters as a 'Supporter of the Greater Victoria Deer Advocates' to identify our group.

Thank-you for speaking-up for local animals!

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site:
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF:


  1. NEW Community Deer Protection Flyer

    Here is a Boycott BC Cities Killing “Urban Deer”! flyer. It can be customized for local communities. It will be updated as we fight for the freedom of these deer.

    NEW Petition! Boycott the CRD Deer Kill Plans

    "As someone who has hunted, it's not a pretty sight," he said, musing about public reaction in downtown Victoria to a deer caught in a cage beating itself to a pulp trying to escape.
    Then the deer is shot with a boltgun "and doing the funky chicken with blood coming out of its ears," he said. "That's why I am looking at dual solutions.” (Killing deer is not pretty, Metchosin mayor warns )

  2. Here's what I sent. Feel free to copy.

    Dear CRD,

    I am writing to express my hope that the CRD will focus on ways of peacefully co-habitating with the deer of Victoria and refuse the idea of killing or using contraception. The problem is not that the deer population is out of control; rather it is that humans are evermore encroaching on native animals’ territory and thereby upsetting the natural balance. Our suburb developments, golf courses, shopping malls etc., push natural deer predators away, thereby removing a natural population control. The answer, however, is not to step in and say ‘Okay, then we’ll take over the role of the predators we’ve extinguished and kill the deer ourselves.” Why? Because, for one, the problem is not that their numbers are growing – quite the opposite in fact (Vancouver Island populations have dropped from estimates of 200,000 to 50,000 deer in the last 30 years). So clearly, we are not dealing with an out-of-control population. Secondly, natural predators operate as part of a natural, self-regulating, cycle. Humans have placed themselves outside of this cycle and operate within their own greed-motivated cycles. Even if a deer kill brought temporary relief to those complaining about their disappearing tulips, the kill would need to be undertaken every year (see Sidney Island as a small-scale example) to keep those tulip-growers happy. The human trend thus far has been towards further and further encroachment of green spaces so even more deer will find themselves wandering into urban lawnsteads as their predator populations dwindle under urban sprawl. Is the city wanting to take this on as an annual tradition?

    I am in support of a more peaceful tradition: that of honouring the animals who live on the same land as us and finding ways to cohabitate peacefully. As an avid gardener, I can understand some residents’ concerns about their vegetation being eaten by the deer; however, there are some very simple solutions to this such as fencing and selective planting. The concerns regarding road accidents with deer could be alleviated through some thoughtfulness on the part of humans: (1) drive at reasonable speeds; (2) erect some creative signs to draw people’s attention to the fact that deer may be on the streets; (3) use strategic fencing where necessary; and (4) do some simple education on how to share the streets with wildlife.

    Choosing to manage human behaviour rather than trying to manage deer population is a long-term solution which will move us in a more sustainable direction overall. The time has come for us to realize that our actions (e.g., destroying natural habitat) have consequences (e.g., animals forced to live in human inhabited areas) AND that we must take responsibility for our actions rather than turn to short-term answers which have further negative impact on the environment and those with whom we share it.

    Thank you,


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