The debate is lively whether or not to prohibit hunting in Weston, Massachusetts as experts are weighing in on the controversy.
Last year, Weston opened five areas for bow hunters, according to Boston.com. Now a proposal has been put forth to outlaw hunting on public land. Allen Rutberg, director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tufts' Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, told the news source that he is not surprised by the backlash against hunting.
"We all have feelings about where people belong in nature and how people should relate to nature, and there are some people who believe humans should be active participants and should be active predators," Rutberg told Boston.com. "Others look for a more peaceful kingdom sort of approach, where humans and animals are supposed to live in some sort of balance and harmony without a human connection. When we fight about deer, that is what we mostly are fighting about."
Those in favor
On one side of the argument, the overpopulation of deer could lead to the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. As the deer have no predators in the area besides hunters, areas of overpopulation will be susceptible to the spread of these diseases.
"The commission unanimously believes that bow hunting on public land is the only practical way to control the deer population," said Conservation Commission chairwoman Laurie Bent. "A change in the bylaws to prohibit hunting will remove the most reasonable and effective tool available to the town to reduce deer density and maintain a healthy forest."
John McDonald, assistant professor of environmental science at Westfield State University and formerly the deer project leader for the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said deer are prey and in their natural landscape in Weston, Massachusetts they lack predators. He added that there is plenty for the deer to eat, so they are not going to starve, and the only way they can reduce the population is by people hitting them with their cars or hunting.
On the other hand, those against hunting say that the we shouldn't hold the deer responsible. John Sanbonmatsu, a philosophy professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, said that it seems human beings are the culprit here, not the the deer, asking if we should continue to push these animals in smaller and smaller circles.
Despite raising the question of who's responsible, solutions need to be laid out for the increasing population of deer and it appears hunting is the only solution.