Killing in the name of what?

I don’t think deer need to be culled, nor do I think they need to be relocated.

So let’s talk about bolt guns. I have seen an animal lose its life by way of a forceful blow to the forehead – several, in fact.

My experience came in a slaughterhouse where lambs were being processed. While I witnessed death, it wasn’t gruesome. The lambs didn’t scream and I didn’t have nightmares.

Lately, whenever I hear “bolt gun” in conversation, I know I will soon also hear “deer.” I appreciate that killing a lamb for food is much different than killing a deer because it’s considered a nuisance.

Personally, I don’t think deer need to be culled, nor do I think they need to be relocated. I have heard many people in the community discuss the horrors of bolt guns, and from what I saw, it wasn’t all that horrible.

Maybe if deer were being used for food I wouldn’t have the same issue with killing them, but this is coming from someone who has a hard time pulling weeds in the garden.

If people in the region support a deer cull, I think they need to be held accountable. Sometimes there is an out-of-sight, out-of mind mentality. It’s easy to fall into that. If a cull is the end result, maybe it should be made a public event or broadcast so people can’t just turn their backs on this.

Humans seem to be the only animal that thinks it owns this planet. If we kill a herd of deer, people are happy. If a grizzly bear kills one human, we hunt that grizzly down and kill it. Some humans find deer annoying and some bears find humans annoying. Point made.

The first time I witnessed animals intentionally killed was at a Hutterite colony in southern Alberta. I was working for a newspaper and when I heard they were having a chicken slaughter, I thought of the photo opportunities.

I watched as 1,500 chickens were processed. The smell of the chickens going though the plucker, a mechanical device with rubber bumps that spins around and pulls out the feathers, caused such a nasty smell. I left the room to go outside. But I told myself, if I wanted to eat chicken and be a photographer, I needed to get back into the room.

I watched from start to finish over several hours and I am glad I now truly understand the process. I always knew meat was once an animal, but I felt it was important to know where my meat came from and how it changed from a live chicken to a meal.

Maybe more people need to take the time to investigate things fully before making a decision. If someone were to vote for the deer to be culled, would they be willing to watch the deer die in good conscience?

Some people think we should just relocate the deer, but I don’t think that’s the answer either.

In a story I wrote about cougars, I talked to a conservation officer. He explained that relocating animals isn’t the Hollywood happy ending we are led to believe. It’s traumatizing to be shot with a tranquilizer, fall out of a tree and then wake up somewhere new.

I, for one, wouldn’t want to get shot and wake up in Campbell River with a limp.

Living with deer can be a challenge too, but I think that is the better option.

I have deer that hang out on my lawn and I like it. Please forgive me. It’s nice to open my windows in the morning and see a deer munching on a bush.

I have a garden, but it’s a community one, with gates and deer fencing. I have talked to farmers who say they have to have proper fencing before planting, so they don’t lose their crops. One farmer explained how deer fencing was just as important as installing a water system.

Deer are natural and they should be allowed to pick where they want to be. We need to understand that we share this planet with other animals and that nothing makes us more entitled than any other species.

Charla Huber is a reporter for the Goldstream News Gazette.

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