January 1st, 2004
I hope that you are all happy and rejoicing now that
someone has listened to you and slaughtered the does and their children
in order to reduce the herd in the manner in which you chose.
I wonder though where many of you were the day of the
massacre? Were you not there to witness a glimpse of these animals
whom you put to death? The animals
who were entrusted in your care to decide their fate? The
animals that were supposedly starving yet received numerous food
donations from humans all across the state?
Was it not you who decided that the methods of culling
the herd proposed by White Buffalo Inc. were too inhumane to watch?
Why then were you not out there presiding over your quick and humane
method of culling the herd? Was it that you were simply too busy
and had to work? Or was it that you knew of the grizzly details that
ensue during a bow “hunt”?
Perhaps you have now walked along the fence line of
the Waterworks to catch a glimpse of your remaining deer. Perhaps
then also you have viewed the gruesome reminders of last Wednesday’s
massacre: the large pools of blood in the snow along Chatham Road,
the spatters of blood along the road next to the elementary school
where the children will play on Monday, the blood trails along the
road and throughout the snow trailing deep into the woods, or the
excrement left behind from a frantic animal terrified for its life.
But then again, perhaps this is exactly what you expected,
perhaps I am just overreacting. Then again, perhaps not. Maybe you
were out there in the early morning hours last Wednesday to say your
goodbyes, maybe not, but I was.
I witnessed what those animals went through. I saw
the animals herded into a corner by squad cars only to be trapped
there by orange fencing. I saw a mother and her two fawns run like
I had never seen an animal run before as they ran for their lives
to hide for safety in a stand of trees, only to be forced out by
a Minneapolis squad car. I never saw them again.
I witnessed four bucks frantically running along the
top ridge of one of the pools. Then I saw the fifth buck, his rear
leg dangling behind him as he limped along as fast as he could. I
watched those animals run for their lives non-stop for nine hours
that day. Nine hours. Can you imagine?
Marathoners run a slow controlled pace for 4-5 hours
at a time and then take a month off to recover. These deer ran for
nine hours as fast as they could to save their life, to save the
life of their children. Nine hours with no rest, no food, no water,
no warning. Nine hours they dodged arrows, jumped over logs, ran
through snow and brush, and ran from the humans they thought they
could trust, humans who chased them back into all of it.
For those nine hours, they knew nothing but fear, exhaustion,
and pain; emotions and feelings they had never experienced before
in their lives. They knew nothing of the danger and harm humans could
bring to them. And for what? Because four task force members stated
over and over and over that they were starving.
Were any of these four members experts? Did any of
them research the physiology of starvation? Did any of them suggest
bringing in expert advice before making a decision that would affect
so many lives? NO. These task force members decided that an arrow
ripping through these animals’ flesh was a more humane method than
Mother Nature, who has cared for animals longer than man has existed.
A more humane method than those offered by a professional, an expert
in his field.
For one brief moment in time, on a rather insignificant
Monday, they played God. They felt so passionately that these animals
were starving, that they were willing to sentence them to a death
so cruel, none of them were there that last day in 2003 to witness
Many have compared this nightmare with that of the
Holocaust; these helpless souls were herded into a small confined
area and slaughtered by so called “sportsmen” preying upon caged,
tame animals. Sounds sportsmanly to me.
Upon hearing this comparison, a lead Waterworks spokesperson
was quoted as saying, “they’re just animals”. They’re just animals.
Let’s think about that for a minute. People are just animals. A dog
is just an animal. A cat is just an animal. But consider how we as
humans treat our dogs and cats. We nourish them when they are hungry.
We give them water when they are thirsty. We heal them when they
are sick. Would we ever consider maiming them with a jagged edged
razor sharp arrow when there is nothing else we can do for them?
Absolutely not! We give them an injection that puts them to “sleep”.
Why do we not then extend this same courtesy to these majestic creatures
who have graced us with their beauty and nobility for so long?
Instead, a select few in the Minneapolis and Columbia
Heights communities have decided that this massacre by bow and arrow
was the best method. Best for who? Certainly not best for those 38
slaughtered animals who had no say in their execution. Certainly
not best for those animals who ran injured for hours before dying
a slow, lonely, unjust death. Best, I suppose, for those in power
who see these creatures as nothing more than a nuisance.
Well now both cities have a big bloody handprint on
them. Many are asking what they are willing to do to repair the damage;
how are they going to help the citizens recover from the emotional
distress of losing so many beloved friends, “the best neighbors I
Well, as rumor has it, those kind souls at the Minneapolis
Waterworks plan to go in again in a few months to “finish the job”.
They were supposedly following the recommendations of those 4 members
of the task force to cull the herd down to 20. They’ve done that
and then some. Do not believe the rumors of 70+ deer living in there.
Everyone living next to the waterworks sees these creatures
every day and knows there never were or are that many. As citizens
of Columbia Heights, it is our responsibility to embrace these animals
who have by no choice of their own, become permanent residents of
our community. They are now our silent neighbors to care for, to
love, to protect. If we allow any more to be harmed, then we have
not only failed them, we have failed ourselves as a society.
An Anonymous Resident of Columbia Heights
(I’m sorry I cannot leave my name, I would love to
for I feel so passionately about this issue. However, I feel many
others do as well and I fear, with good reason, the repercussions
of stating such feelings publicly.)