Educate consumers on the summertime Deer Killing farmers partake in and offer alternatives
After living near an "family" Orchard/Farm/Barn in Schodack New York for many years, we stopped shopping at the barn after what we witnessed firsthand. We wont support the unfenced farms that are actively shooting deer throughout the growing season. Vegans especially should be wary and dont hesitate to ask questions at the farmers market or stand. Many may be feeling a false sense of pride that their purchases are not directly contributing to the death of animals.
Hundreds of deer, nearly 300 in 2011, are killed by growers locally in order to get their fruits and vegetables to the market. As recently as the summer of 2011, over sixty local farms and orchards obtained hundreds of free Deer Damage Permit tags. In the dark of the night, right in and alongside the rows of growing fruits and vegetables you purchase, the farmer or their designated agents are spotlighting and shooting, even baiting the deer. In some instances the deer effortlessly approach the crops trying to grab an easy meal. Some farms and orchards have no fence and the deer come from miles around as the fragrant fruits and vegetables begin to ripen. The shooting goes on all summer long, until the beginning of hunting season, with little or no evening-hours oversight from the gutted out state agencies issuing the permits. There is no third party watchdog visiting the farms and orchards to see what is being done at night, perhaps too often by uneducated farmhands only required to have a hunting license. Farmers getting the permits are fully responsible for the actions of the agents and cannot distance themselves from the process. You should feel comfortable asking them for a full explanation of their culling of deer and what is being done to minimize the number of deer killed. It is fair to ask to talk to the agent doing the shooting. Some farmers are leaving fallen fruits and vegetables lying on the ground, which only makes the situation worse. Some are offering only the deer meat to their agents as compensation for the killing, adding incentive to kill as many deer as possible, and of all sizes. Some are shooting the deer and leaving them to die. History shows that relying on the self regulation of sometimes struggling businessmen is rarely a good idea, trust but verify.
Also, school districts entering into contracts with local farms need to assure the district residents and students that all efforts are being taken to eliminate summertime killing of deer by the farmers unless absolutely necessary. The excuse that they cannot afford to buy fence is just not good enough. Ask if the deer killing is taken into consideration when deciding to award the rather lucrative local farm to school contracts. Before joining a CSA make sure that your produce areas are fenced to keep out niusance animals, minimizing killing, and ask the farmer to see their deer damage management plan in writing.
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