New York, like California, has plenty of problems and most of them stem from poor leadership and the willingness of its residents to blindly follow any “cool,” “green” or otherwise popular trend. Two of New York’s problems, which if managed properly, could be addressed with a single solution.
Residents of Staten Island have complained of the overpopulation of deer in the area. Not only are car crashes on the rise, but incidents of Lyme disease have spiked in recent years, according to the New York City Health Department. Deer are decimating the forages, bolting onto area roads and infecting people and animals with the diseases they disperse through the ticks they carry from Lyme disease to babeosis, anaplasmosis and others. They are not only a risk to deer but pets and farm animals.
On the other hand, over 2.4 million New York state residents, or 11.9%, are food insecure. More than 1.2 million New York City residents, or 14.4%, are food insecure. New York City residents make up a full 50% of all the food insecure people living in New York state.
Wouldn’t a common sense approach to solving both of these problems involve harvesting the deer and then making the meat available to hungry New Yorkers? But apparently that is too “simple and inexpensive” a solution. Don’t worry, the Staten Island geniuses have found a better way.
Through the Parks Department, officials have enlisted the help of White Buffalo, Inc., a non-profit organization. The following is the mission statement taken directly from the website:
“White Buffalo Inc. (WBI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is focused on the conservation of native species and ecosystems. We sponsor, support, and conduct scientific research and educational efforts to improve the understanding of natural resources for the purpose of conservation. Our approach is unique, in that we generate funding for conservation research by providing management alternatives in non-traditional settings. We have spent the last two decades committed to improving both technology and techniques to maximize safety, humaneness, and efficiency for the management of ungulates. We continue to share our findings with fellow professionals and others passionate about ecosystem management.”
While their apparent altruism is boasted on the website, the company was paid $4.1 million to “control” the deer population on Staten Island by vasectomizing male deer. While the deer can no longer reproduce, they can still carry ticks and jump out in front of cars, so how can anybody think this is effective? In April 2018, after nearly three years of the program, the city announced the Island’s deer population dropped by a whopping 8% from 2,053 in 2017 to 1,884 in 2018.
A closer look at the financial end of the operation finds that only 7.6% of that $4.1 million budget went to supplies to sterilize the bucks and bait to lure them in so they could be captured for surgery. The rest of the $4 million went to pay the salaries of all the experts needed to carry out this charade. How is that a non-profit? Perhaps because they also accept donations from people who think they are doing great things.
Don’t worry Staten Island residents, Mayor Bill DeBlasio has already announced he is willing to keep spending all the money needed to get this problem under control with help from White Buffalo. What’s the real story here; somebody found a way to make a pile of money off of a bunch of people that have no understanding of the cycle of life.
Meanwhile, millions of New Yorkers, who can’t afford cars that can get hit by deer or the health care to treat their sick family members if they get Lyme disease, will be waiting for their mayor and their fellow residents to care as much about their hungry families as they do about maintaining the sex lives of the bucks that wander the island.
A real leader would organize some expert hunters to harvest the deer on a regular basis and make arrangements with local meat lockers to process and package the meat so it could be given to the starving people of New York. But that’s what a real leader would do.
Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.LoosTales.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.