Advertisement

Editorial - What's best for animals

December 05, 1997

Editorial - What's best for animals

Last Friday The Fund for Animals sent the West Virginia Board of Education a letter complaining that many local school systems were excusing students from class during the first week of hunting season. Heidi Prescott said students should not be freed from their studies to participate in an activity having "no redeeming social or educational value."

We love animals, too, but we believe that Prescott and the members of her Silver Spring, Md.-based group have not considered the possibility that an outright ban on hunting - which is after all, their true objective - might not serve the best interests of the animals they claim to love.

Hunters, through licenses, fees and various stamps, not to mention their memberships in various conservation groups like the Izaak Walton League, provide cash for the preservation of wildlife habitat. If hunting were outlawed, does anyone believe that the historic Woodmont Club near Hancock would have been sold to the State of Maryland?

Advertisement

Of course not. It would have been gone instead instead of to a private developer who would have carved up its acreage into a series of rustic homesites that would have deprived wildlife of even more habitat.

What happens when habitat is lost? Whitetail deer and other animals begin to move into the suburbs, munching on shrubbery and vegetable gardens until citizen pressure mounts to have them exterminated. A developer in the Gaithersburg, Md., area is now attempting to preclude such problems by applying to exterminate all the deer on his property before he develops it.

And even if he doesn't get an okay, he can make it inhospitable for wildlife in other ways. The only people who've had a long-term interest in preserving land for wildlife have been hunters.

It would be nice if the eco-system on that land took care of itself, But introducing predators large enough to kill deer when hunting lands are so close to residences would guarantee some nasty surprises for human neighbors. Controlled harvesting by hunters may be distasteful to Prescott's group, but it is a compromise that allows some of the creatures they care about to live.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|