Deer control as a citizen initiative

Citizen volunteers might help manage city dwelling deer.
Dr. Chris Collis, veterinarian, told me about the Zona vaccine, which controls populations of some zoo animals by turning the immune system against the developing ova.

Citizen volunteers might help manage city dwelling deer.

Dr. Chris Collis, veterinarian, told me about the Zona vaccine, which controls populations of some zoo animals by turning the immune system against the developing ova. 

We did not talk politics, so I must take the blame for the idea of recruiting deer-grappling volunteers to Zona-ize the flesh-and-blood cousins of Bambi, Like it or not, this is a political notion.

Smart volunteers could be rallied to help vets and trained assistants do a Bambi-birth-control project with tranquilizer guns and hypodermics.

Deer are a pretty sight as they munch flowers and vegetables, but troublesome to some residents of Greater Victoria’s suburbs, and in cities as far away as London, Ont. Bio-bureaucrats have worried for years about “urban ungulates.”

Deer control seems a hot topic for a minority of enthusiasts who might be recruited as volunteers, and rarefied enough to escape powerful opposition.

It fits in neatly with the current trend toward encouraging citizens to become players rather than spectators.   

For the relatively few enthusiasts who have the strength and humane zeal to take on the job, deer control would be a reasonable enterprise within the fourth branch of government that is taking shape alongside legislatures, law courts and political executive management.          

The emerging “branch four” of government includes such direct citizen action as scientific deer-wrangling and people-power wielded independently of elections.

Branch four includes the judgement of arm’s-length critics such as the auditor-general, and the mobilization of public opinion through citizen juries and conferences linking experts, creative visionaries and the general public, under the co-ordinative supervision of such able political/judicial technicians as Roy Romanow and Justice Emmett Hall.    

Both men convened historic healthcare enquiries that shaped policy.   

Findings of commissioners and citizen juries can be graded on a scale from mild recommendations to law-changes endorsed by public vote, which lawmakers are commanded to enact.

Britain’s Tory-Liberal-Democrat coalition government, pushing toward community action, is entering a zone of paradoxes and reversals where “right” meets “left.”

“The big society” is Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s three-part brainwave:

First, the slogan, which denies Conservative Lady Margaret Thatcher’s much hated anti-human saying, ”There is no such thing as society.”

Second, encouragement for local co-operative action. This is the point where “right”  meets “left.” Co-ops (one person, one vote) are a key component of social-democratic thought, although co-ops sometimes are captured by controlling managerial cliques.

Point 3 in Cameron’s wily strategy is ruthless slashing of national budgets, the off-loading of costs and work on to local agencies, and the  weakening of government as the instrument of popular will and well-being — a cause dear to Cameron’s wealthy core sponsors, who expect  lower taxes. Point 3 nullifies the first two, but voters haven’t yet cottoned on to this contradiction.

The nearly painless Tobin-plus, a fractional tax on financial transactions can raise billions for national governments and world poverty-relief, if Cameron or a future Labour replacement launches a Tobin campaign, realizing Tobin’s benefit to the whole political economy, including investors as well as poor people.           

The deer control model for local people-power needs to be combined with Tobin-plus central financing. Citizen deer control implies that the planet has become one large zoo requiring hands on participatory management. 

The global zoo is mismanaged at present. As Guy Dauncey noted in Econews, one fifth of all species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fishes are in danger of extinction.

Will planet-care — including humane deer control — really happen? Will “branch four” of government soon overshadow narrowly partisan politicians such as Stephen Harper and resigned B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and colleagues? 

Maybe, if respected loud-singing voices harmonize with changing public sentiment. Or maybe not. We’ll see. 

G.E. Mortimore is a Langford-based writer. Think About It appears every second week in the Gazette. gemort@pacificcoast.net

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