Exploring the idea of a deer sterilization program can feel daunting … we know, we’ve been there! While every situation is different, we hope the general thoughts below, based on our experience, may help you frame discussions, assess resources, and anticipate challenges.
There are practical as well as ideological reasons to consider sterilization as an alternative to lethal population reduction methods. Different motives suggest different choices, each with different affects. For example:
Advocacy for non-lethal alternatives typically arises from citizens and animal welfare groups when local authorities announce plans to begin lethal culling of destructively large herds. While protests, legal challenges, and high profile opposition can slow and even temporarily stop culling, protest groups and methods typically are not well suited to the research, coalition building and programmatic infrastructure development needed to implement a sterilization program. Separation of the planners and planning function from the objectors and protest function is probably necessary.
Others say deer were here before people and should be left alone. A few argue that deer are not causing ecological damage and herd reduction is unnecessary, and some may oppose working with Dr. DeNicola, the leading deer sterilization expert, because he also does lethal culling for communities that request it. Mostly these opinions are sincerely held, deeply felt, and loudly expressed. The challenge is to let them be heard without letting them dominate.