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Audubon Society supports killing of Point Reyes Deer, angers members.

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  • Pat Scala
    Audubon Society supports killing of Point Reyes Deer, angers members. June 4, 2007 on 2:43 pm | In Sonoma
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 16, 2007
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      Audubon <http://www.americanbirdguide.com/wordpress/?p=66> Society supports
      killing of Point Reyes Deer, angers members.

      June 4, 2007 on 2:43 pm | In Sonoma
      <http://www.americanbirdguide.com/wordpress/?cat=5> County Wildlife |


      Greetings Birders!
      If you're like me, you've always been a big fan of the Audubon Society.
      They've been around forever, they publish beautiful bird guides, and they
      have terrific local chapters across the U.S. The Audubon Society depends on
      members' dues and donations in order to publish their magazine, fund their
      conservation projects and maintain their standing as America's most famous
      and popular birding organization.

      Unfortunately, the Audubon Society is rapidly losing member support here in
      the San Francisco Bay Area of California because of a decision made at an
      official, Marin Chapter Audubon Society level about a local issue which
      local people feel very strongly about.

      Here are the basic facts:

      * For generations, the citizens of Marin County have benefited from
      the presence of the small herd of beautiful Fallow and Axis Deer that were
      brought by humans to the Point Reyes National Seashore in the 1950's.
      * The National Park Service will begin killing the deer this summer of
      2007 via methods that include gunning down from helicopters, hunting with
      dogs and beating and stabbing the deer to death.
      * The National Park Service claims that the deer are harming the
      environment and threatening the Black-tailed Deer that also live in the
      * The National Park Service has refused to spend the time to actually
      study whatever effects the Fallow and Axis deer may be having on the
      ecology. They do not have any figures for how many Black-tailed Deer live in
      the park, nor how many lived there 50 years ago. Rather than study the
      animals and act as the good stewards of the land they are employed to be,
      they simply want to kill the Fallow and Axis Deer.
      * Officials at the Marin Chapter level of the Audubon Society have
      announced that they support the inhumane, hurried killing of the Fallow and
      Axis deer. Local members of the regional chapter are in disagreement about
      the position the board of the Marin chapter has taken and have voiced their
      lack of support for this policy.
      * The Marin Humane Society, In Defense of Animals, WildCare and Dr.
      Jane Goodall have all pleaded with the NPS to adopt a policy of humane
      management, not extermination of these deer which are so highly valued by
      local citizens and the 2.5 million visitors that come to the Point Reyes
      National Seashore annually.
      * The people of West Marin have created a group called Friends of the
      White Deer <http://www.fotwd.org> . Their efforts have included gathering
      thousands of signatures, holding meetings with the Park officials and
      posting signs all over their villages asking for humane management of the
      * The NPS and the conservation committee of the Marin Audubon society
      is refusing to listen to the needs and wishes of local people, and the
      killing is set to begin this summer.

      Fallow Deer, Point Reyes, CA.
      It is my belief that the National Audubon Society and all of its chapters
      should take the position of protecting and cherishing life, not destroying
      it. If the size of the Fallow and Axis deer population needs to be managed,
      it can be done with humane contraceptive dart technology. The NPS is
      authorized to do this, and already practices humane management with the Tule
      Elk that also live in the park.

      I am offended that the Marin Audubon Society, a group I have always
      respected, has so far ignored the position of the highly-educated local
      members and the people of West Marin who have lived with these deer for half
      a century. The Marin Audubon Society should listen to the wisdom of its
      local members who love and know their regional environments, and who do not
      support the committee's desire to see the deer inhumanely slaughtered. The
      Audubon Society only exists because of the support of local people across
      the land, and our words should be important to them.

      *Editorial correction: It was my initial understanding of this case that
      support of killing the Fallow and Axis Deer of Point Reyes had been given by
      the Audubon Society at a national level. Thanks to Glenn Olson, Executive
      Director of Audubon California and Graham Chisholm, Director of Conservation
      & Deputy State Director, Audubon California (see comment below), I have been
      able to clarify that neither the national nor state level Audubon Society
      has taken an official position on the slaying of the deer.

      I have also had the opportunity of speaking with Barbara Salzman, President
      of the Marin Audubon Society. She confirmed for me that the position
      announced in support of killing the deer was taken at a local chapter level,
      not a national or state one. According to Ms. Salzman, this position is not
      the result of a vote amongst the members of the local chapter, but rather
      the result of discussion amongst the conservation committee. Ms. Salzman
      indicated to me that if they had to take the view of all the members into
      account, they would never be able to reach an official decision.

      It is little wonder, then, that Marin Audubon Society members are upset by
      the committee's stance. In the words of member Jeanne Emmons Cohn of San

      "Environmental groups are being lobbied to go along with these deer
      killings. I implore commissioners to look into alternatives that would
      prevent annihilation of the whole group of deer."

      In light of the fact that the official position of the Marin Audubon Society
      is based merely on the decision of their committee, rather than on a
      democratic vote of their members, I believe it is all the more imperative
      for dissenting members to speak up and withdraw their support from a group
      that is not ethically aligned with their own beliefs about the humane
      treatment of animals.

      What you can do
      Visit Friends of the White deer at www.fotwd.org to read further about this

      If you fund your local Audubon Society chapter, begin a discussion with
      other members about the inappropriateness of this organization becoming a
      supporter of inhumane species extermination.

      Consider withdrawing your membership and funding from your local Audubon
      Chapter, and send them a letter explaining that you are doing so because the
      Marin Audubon Society has ignored local citizens' request for humane
      management, not extermination.

      If you donate to the National Audubon Society, consider writing to them to
      explain that you will not be continuing your financial sponsorship of their
      society because the local chapter of the Marin Audubon Society is supporting
      species extermination and ignoring local members' needs.

      Please consider writing or emailing the following:

      National Audubon Society:
      National Audubon Society
      700 Broadway
      New York, NY 10003
      Phone: (212) 979-3000
      Fax: (212) 979-3188
      email: donations@...

      Audubon California
      711 University Avenue
      Sacramento, CA 95825
      Fax 916-649-7667
      Glenn Olson, Executive Director
      email: golson@...

      Madrone Audubon Society
      PO Box 1911
      Santa Rosa, CA 95402
      Sylvan Eidelman, President
      email: sylvan_lee@...

      Napa-Solano Audubon Society
      PO Box 5027
      Vallejo, CA 94591
      Cheryl Harris, President
      email: cheryleharris@...

      Marin Audubon Society
      48 Ardmore Rd
      Larkspur, CA 94939
      Barbara Salzman, President
      email: bsalzman@...

      In Conclusion
      My husband and I have spent hours amongst these rare and beautiful deer and
      have come to love them. Our joy in birding, and the reason we run Birding
      Sonoma County, is founded in a deep love of the natural world and a respect
      for all life. We are ashamed to see the Marin Audubon Society officially
      supporting violence and respectfully request that they remember that the
      society exists because of the interest and activities of citizens at a local
      level. We believe that the people in the committee which makes policies for
      the Marin Audubon Society should be guided by a democratic poll of its local
      members' positions, not by the decision of a chosen few, and that the
      tremendous local outcry against the slaying of the deer should be taken into
      account by any local wildlife-oriented society.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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