Letter: Deer cull position is 'repugnant'

White-tailed deer intrude on the property of a

White-tailed deer intrude on the property of a home in Southold on Nov. 13, 2013. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

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Newsday's editorial "The deer kill is a sad necessity" [Dec. 12], was inflammatory, insensitive and repugnant, especially this line: "It is clear we are way past the point where squeamishness and doe-eyed sentiment should dictate public policy."

Newsday also said, "deer have been blamed for auto accidents, the spread of Lyme disease via ticks, and damage to forest habitat for other species."

However, studies have shown that hunting deer alone won't effectively combat Lyme disease. Tamara Awerbuch, a specialist in emerging epidemics at the Harvard School of Public Health, said ticks do not get Lyme disease from deer, as is commonly believed. Ticks get Lyme from feeding on infected white-footed mice. The deer carry the ticks, but the mice must also be present for the disease to be transmitted.

Newsday also has written that the deer population in the East End towns was estimated at 30,000 ["Unlikely allies on deer," News, Jan. 19]. Based on my telephone conversations with the Department of Environmental Conservation, it's my opinion that this should be categorized as a "guesstimate."

I was told by a DEC representative that there is no realistic, cost effective, reasonably accurate way to determine the number of deer living in the East End towns. There may very well be far fewer than the figure mentioned in Newsday.

Lastly, even if there is an overpopulation, there are hunters who are willing to volunteer to assist in sterilizing deer. There is some evidence that sterilizing a small percentage of breeding-age bucks can be effective in controlling the population.

To massacre innocent deer based on unconfirmable population statistics and misinformation about Lyme disease is most repugnant to me and likely thousands more Long Islanders.

Dennis Glassberg, Dix Hills

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