C.A.S.H. Letters to the Editor > 2004

C.A.S.H. Letters



Dear Times Herald-Record:

Regarding: "City considers killing crows" (March 13), it is disappointing that Middletown's mayor, Joe DeStefano considers violence an option for dealing with real or perceived human-animal conflicts.

Longtime crow killer, Dick Mermon, is quoted: "When I started, they made a fool of me." That's hardly surprising, since tree stands make fools of hunters - witness all of the hunters who fall out of them every hunting season. Crows, unlike hunters, are near the top of the animal intelligence scale.

Mayor DeStefano is considering pulling up trees and allowing a crow hunt, "to fight the mess, the noise, and the smell." While I would not want to get close enough to hunters to assess their smell, any town infested with hunters can attest to the noise and mess they leave behind - Budweiser cans, lead pellets, and McDonald's wrappers. Hunters also leave visible markers of the suffering they cause - blood and body parts from mutilated animals, and crippled animals, who will die slow, agonizing deaths.

Your article states, as a given, that crows are "pests" and that they "plague" communities. The negative way in which we view animals reveals OUR shortcomings, not theirs.

Mermon wrote a book called, "Crow Shooting Secrets." The impetus for Mermon's literary classic was that crows' vocalizing had ruined his recreational killing of other animals, when he was but a depraved youth. For their communication skills, the crows deserve to be honored, not killed.

Predictably, hunters use the West Nile virus as a justification for the slaughter. Seeing crows alive and well, however, is a good indication that the virus is not in the area. The Centers for Disease Control states that over130 species of birds (and less frequently, several mammal species) are known to have been infected with the West Nile virus. In areas where the virus is circulating, very few mosquitoes are infected with the virus; even if the mosquito is infected, less than 1% of people who get bitten and become infected will get severely ill. The CDC further states that there is no evidence that a person can get the virus from handling live or dead infected birds.

The bodies of crows killed by hunters (not West Nile), and not immediately retrieved, can later hamper efforts to link dead crows in an area with possible West Nile contamination.

While crows do not kill people, hunters do. Hunters routinely kill themselves, other hunters, and innocent members of the public (in their own homes, yards, and cars).

Your article ends by stating, "There is good news. winter crows usually leave in March" [if only the same could be said of hunters]. But they'll be back." Of course they will be back. The object of hunting is never to reduce animal numbers, but to intentionally increase their numbers, through hunting and habitat manipulation, and then to demonize them, so that there will always be more live targets and an invented excuse to keep maiming and killing them.

Non-lethal methods of dealing with human-animal conflicts are the best choice, ethically and practically. To learn more, go to http://www.all-creatures.org/cash/ .

Susan Gordon, Representative
The Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561

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