Oh, Borough of Staten Island, why you have wandered into Crazytown?
According to this article the state of New York, which recorded an apparent record high deer harvest of 308,216 animals in 2002, contains a certain borough of New York City which in an effort to control local deer populations has now reduced itself to… buck vasectomies.
You read that correctly. Staten Island, New York has apparently spent 4.1 million dollars over the past three years to sterilize 1577 male whitetail deer. That’s $12,975 per buck. For cost comparison, I wasn’t sure what the average cost of a human vasectomy was, so I Googled it.
According to this reference, the average U.S. human vasectomy costs in the ball park of a couple or three thousand dollars, including follow-ups.
I don’t know the ins and outs of veterinary medicine, but I imagine the huge cost differential between a human and deer snip job is related to sentience and ability to cooperate. You can’t just invite a buck into the clinic and give him a local. And you can’t just send him home with a bag of frozen peas and instructions to watch basketball on TV for a few days. There is tranquilization involved. And transport. And behavior considerations.
I imagine that human costs would go up too if you had to dart Bro-dudes as they staggered out of the sports bar, drag them into a medical truck, make sure you hadn’t already snipped them last season, do the deed, tag their ears, drag them back to where you found them in front of the bar, and watch to make sure that they didn’t hurt themselves as they were waking up and trying to figure out what the eff just happened and why their privates hurt like the devil.
So, I get that deer vasectomy is expensive. But my question is why is this even considered a viable option? Especially in a state chock-ful of deer hunters.
It’s because of the Bambi-ization of city dwellers. These are people who purchase their meat precut, on shrink-wrapped styrofoam trays. This is, IF they eat meat at all, and not just super-pre-processed tofu burgers from Whole Paycheck Mart.
Controlled hunts provide high quality protein to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and food banks. And you can even sell licenses in a lottery to offset other costs. Hiring sharpshooters is another option, and although probably more expensive than a controlled hunt, would undoubtedly give faster deer population reduction for much less than the millions of dollars already wasted.
This boondoggle has resulted in a reduction of approximately 316 animals by last estimation. Over the course of three years. A well-executed controlled hunt could do that over the course of a few days.
But, the Bambi-ized citizens of Staten Island don’t see that hunting these animals – even if the meat is used to feed the hungry – is an option. No, they treat these wild animals as if they were human beings, and insist on projecting a human medical procedure as a “solution” to overpopulation of these anthropomorphized ungulates.
If they’re going to treat these deer like humans, they should do something useful. For $12,975 each, you could send all those young bucks to trade school instead. Get them out of the woods and into useful careers where they’re too busy earning high wages to waste time reproducing, I say. If you’re going to anthropomorphize, you might as well do it right.
Granted it’s their money. But I could think of about a million better ways to spend it than on deer vasectomies, couldn’t you?