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 
move forward.

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.