From: Cathryn Swan <[log in to unmask]>
When Bruce Springsteen wrote the song "My Hometown," it was a
nostalgic look back at his time growing up. Well, I have nostalgia
too but at the moment I have mostly frustration.
I grew up in the town of Livingston, New Jersey which is about 20
miles from New York City. My parents lived there for 31 years. We
moved there when I was 3. Even tho' I didn't consider it the perfect
place to have grown up, I feel an attachment, concerned still to this
day about what happens there.
The Livingston Town Council decided a couple of years ago that the
town needed a "downtown." I read about it from afar in the local
paper, which I continued getting because my parents' subscription
after they died hadn't quite ended. I read about how they were going
to cut down 9 acres of woods, not just for the downtown, but to also
build homes and more homes to accompany this downtown. I was angry
then. I wondered... why was their no concern for the wildlife that
lived in those woods? Where exactly did they think those birds and
squirrels and deer and whatever else lived there were going to GO?
There's not exactly a lot of open space left as it was and here they
are chopping down 9 acres of woodland because, all of a sudden, after
so many years as a thriving community, the town needed a "downtown."
(And I'm sorry, it is not really a downtown, it is just a shopping
area that doesn't even seem well designed or to promote "community.")
In the last few years of my parents' lives in Livingston, deer had
begun to appear in our backyard. A family of deer. It was amazing and
so unexpected. We had a nice brook running behind our house but not a
huge amount of woods and it was hard to imagine the deer could
survive within that small amount of woods. But survive they did. I
realized as I became more conscious of the environment and wildlife
issues that the reason they were there is because they had been
pushed out of some previous habitat. Development, in other words, had
claimed the deer's home.
Now, the news has reached me that Livingston has decided there are
too many deer and set up a "Deer Management Committee." Livingston,
considered a somewhat affluent, well-to-do community, has a Town
Council that this week passed a resolution to have deer hunted with
bows! I am completely serious about this and I am completely
outraged. The problem also is that the decision was made before the
issue even went for a vote. How else could we explain that they did
not allow comments from an opposing, alternate view and only allowed
the viewpoint of the "committee" (which was pro-hunting) to be put
forth before being put to an unannounced vote? (& thank you to the
New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance for their hard work despite the
recklessness of the Council's actions.)
It is a cyclical problem in our society. We take up the land of a
species and then we wonder why deer and bears and whatever else are
in our backyards. We then blame that species for getting too close to
us! (Note: Please make this mentality stop!) We say they get in our
gardens. They hit our cars. The problem is that we are not planning,
taking into account these other species' RIGHT to occupy the space of
this earth. To SHARE the earth with us.
In this instance, the New Jersey Audobon Society is going around
doing presentations in suburban towns saying that the deer need to be
limited. The AUDOBON SOCIETY! Can't they stick to their issue - of
birds? They know that if a Town Council hears from them that that
will be taken seriously. It is not like having a hunting organization
advocate killing deer. They should NOT be using their prestige -
whether legitimate or not - to harm other species. Apparently tho',
Audobon Society has aligned themselves more recently with hunters. So
any prestige they once had in my book is now negated.
I am not sure what to do about this situation but this is wrong,
outright wrong. Some other deer, roaming like the deer in the
backyard of the house I grew up in, are now going to be shot with
bows, probably not even killed instantly, all so some hunters can get
to exercise their "skill", a town council can seem like they "solved"
a problem, and an uncompassionate, mean-spirited action is allowed to
The deer get to share the earth with us. We as a species have to stop
believing that we are the only ones that matter.
Any ideas or feedback appreciated! Thanks. I found contact
information so read below for what you can do to help ! And maybe do
something kind for animals today if you can.
peace, Cathryn. B-girl.
**Don't leave yet! *** What we can do!***
Sometimes it seems like sending letters and writing emails is all we
do but in a small community it actually has more of an impact! Here
(not easily found on the Livingston New Jersey web site) is contact
information, if you are inspired, please write, fax or call! Or all three.
Mayor Steve Santola
email: [log in to unmask], phone: (h) 973-992-7253
(w)973-316-9400, Town Hall fax # 973-535-7967
Deputy Mayor Lee Peyser
email: [log in to unmask], phone: 973-600-2070
Councilman Charles August
email: [log in to unmask], phone: 973-992-5261
Councilwoman Arlene Johnson
email: [log in to unmask], phone: 973-994-2314
Councilman Gary Schneiderman
email: [log in to unmask], phone: 973-994-2969
Important Note: While we think this is flawed and a horribly
mean-spirited, unnecessary decision, when talking or emailing to
these people, try to note the following:
- the flawed process
- why was the other 'side' not given a chance to respond to the "deer
management committee's" recommendations?
- Why was there not advance notice that a vote was going to be taken
at that meeting?
But, of course, to note primarily: the flawed decision making
- there is no evidence that this will help curtail the deer population.
- Why is the town not working with animal advocates to find a GOOD
solution? Deer are a species that deserve to share the earth with us.
While that may not fit into every businessperson's 'model,' if they
had considered the deer and other wildlife before the excessive
"development," they would not be worrying about this now.
Since there is debate over the "committee's" conclusions, the process
should be restarted. However hunting should be a very last resort and
not even considered in this day and age. The people of the town
should be given a chance to let the Town Council know what they think
about this. thank you.