Posts Tagged ‘kill’

Federal Government Sanctions Deer Cull

Posted Oct 7, 2009 by lauraallen

On October 1, 2009 the National Park Service’s approved the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final White-tailed Deer Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (Final plan/EIS) at Valley Forge National Historical Park.

This means they plan to begin what is nothing more than a deer cull, a canned hunt of deer in the Park.

Park officials will begin an effort to kill off the herd by as much as 86%. The population is estimated to be 1,277 and officials want only 165-185 deer in the Park. They plan to shoot large numbers of deer each year for at least 3 years. Some deer will be trapped or captured using tranquilizer darts and then killed, probably with a captive bolt gun.  (Think horse slaughter or No Country for Old Men)

After these initial mass culls, park managers will use contraceptives and more shooting to maintain the herd population.  

This program will cost the government up to nearly $3 million.

Deer will be lured with food to certain areas where federal employees or contractors will be waiting with high-powered, silencer-equipped rifles, to kill them.  This hunting will be done generally at night.

It won’t take more than one massacre for the deer to understand the Park is no longer safe for them. The Park population has increased because of the dramatic loss of deer habitat from development around the Park.

Whether it’s wild horses and burros, feral cats or deer, humane measures seem beyond the federal government.

Indeed, a humane alternative was proposed by Dr. Patricia Cohn, a philosophy professor. She has studied this issue and though not convinced there are too many deer, she has offered $125,000 to pay for 1,000 doses of porcine zona pellucid, PZP, an immunocontraceptive, which is already used by the federal government on wild mares. PZP has also been used successfully to reduce deer herds at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland and at Fire Island National Seashore.  Dr. Cohn’s contribution would pay for training three people to fire dart guns with the PZP at female deer. The darts would also mark the deer as having been dosed with PZP.

Dr. Cohn would then provide through her organization, Pity Not Cruelty, money for fencing areas where deer eat, according to Park officials, too much of the ground level vegetation and saplings.

Park managers say more than 1,000 doses of PZP is needed and larger areas than Dr. Cohn has said suggested, must be fenced. Even so, isn’t this far more humane and cheaper than the Park’s cruel cull that will cost millions?

Park officials seem oblivious that culling the deer simply won’t work to reduce numbers. As in communities that kill feral cats instead of neutering them and returning them to their colonies, this canned hunt or deer cull will simply result in more deer. The herd will work to survive, and the result will be females breeding at younger ages and giving birth to more multiples.   

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Tell these officials you oppose the deer culls and urge them to use humane alternatives that do not involve killing deer!

Email the Valley Forge National Historical Park

Contact Valley Forge National Historical Park Superintendent Michael Caldwell by fax (610) 783-1038 or phone (610) 783-1037 or write him at 1400 North Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, PA 19406

Contact Dennis Reidenbach, Regional Director
National Park Service
U.S. Custom House
200 Chestnut Street, Fifth Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 597-7013

Contact the new Director of the National Park Service Jon Jarvis

National Park Service
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
(202) 208-3818

  

Contact Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Dept. of the Interior

Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

(202) 208-3100

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I am writing Salazar today and you should too. A link to his email is on this site, just do a search for it. This is ridiculous. In the new times we live in sending a message that our wildlife can simply be killed and carted off is not the message that the public need to hear. This is taking a big step backward and it needs to be stopped.


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Hit List — US Targets 50 Taliban-Linked Drug Traffickers to Capture or Kill

ISAF commander congratulates Ministry of Interior for likely worA congressional study released Tuesday reveals that US military forces occupying Afghanistan have placed 50 drug traffickers on a “capture or kill” list. The list of those targeted for arrest or assassination had previously been reserved for leaders of the insurgency aimed at driving Western forces from Afghanistan and restoring Taliban rule. The addition of drug traffickers to the hit list means the US military will now be capturing or killing criminal — not political or military — foes without benefit of warrant or trial.

The policy was announced earlier this year, when the US persuaded reluctant NATO allies to come on board as it began shifting its Afghan drug policy from eradication of peasant poppy fields to trying to interdict opium and heroin in transit out from the country. But it is receiving renewed attention as the fight heats up this summer, and the release of the report from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has brought the policy under the spotlight.

The report, Afghanistan’s Narco War: Breaking the Link between Drug Traffickers and Insurgents, includes the following highlights:

•Senior military and civilian officials now believe the Taliban cannot be defeated and good government in Afghanistan cannot be established without cutting off the money generated by Afghanistan’s opium industry, which supplies more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin and generates an estimated $3 billion a year in profits.

•As part of the US military expansion in Afghanistan, the Obama administration has assigned US troops a lead role in trying to stop the flow of illicit drug profits that are bankrolling the Taliban and fueling the corruption that undermines the Afghan government. Simultaneously, the United States has set up an intelligence center to analyze the flow of drug money to the Taliban and corrupt Afghan officials, and a task force combining military, intelligence and law enforcement resources from several countries to pursue drug networks linked to the Taliban in southern Afghanistan awaits formal approval.

•On the civilian side, the administration is dramatically shifting gears on counternarcotics by phasing out eradication efforts in favor of promoting alternative crops and agriculture development. For the first time, the United States will have an agriculture strategy for Afghanistan. While this new strategy is still being finalized, it will focus on efforts to increase agricultural productivity, regenerate the agribusiness sector, rehabilitate watersheds and irrigation systems, and build capacity in the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock.

While it didn’t make the highlights, the following passage bluntly spells out the lengths to which the military is prepared to go to complete its new anti-drug mission: “In a dramatic illustration of the new policy, major drug traffickers who help finance the insurgency are likely to find themselves in the crosshairs of the military. Some 50 of them are now officially on the target list to be killed or captured.”

Or, as one US military officer told the committee staff: “We have a list of 367 ‘kill or capture’ targets, including 50 nexus targets who link drugs and insurgency.”

ISAF commander congratulates Ministry of Interior for likely wor

burning of captured Afghanistan hashish cache, world record size, 2008 (from nato.int)US military commanders argue that the killing of civilian drug trafficking suspects is legal under their rules of engagement and the international law. While the exact rules of engagement are classified, the generals said “the ROE and the internationally recognized Law of War have been interpreted to allow them to put drug traffickers with proven links to the insurgency on a kill list, called the joint integrated prioritized target list.”

Not everyone agrees that killing civilian drug traffickers in a foreign country is legal. The UN General Assembly has called for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. In a 2007 report, the International Harm Reduction Association identified the resort to the death penalty for drug offenses as a violation of the UN Charter and Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

“What was striking about the news coverage of this this week was that the culture of US impunity is so entrenched that nobody questioned or even mentioned the fact that extrajudicial murder is illegal under international law, and presumably under US law as well,” said Steve Rolles of the British drug reform group Transform. “The UK government could never get away with an assassination list like this, and even when countries like Israel do it, there is widespread condemnation. Imagine the uproar if the Afghans had produced a list of US assassination targets on the basis that US forces in Afghanistan were responsible for thousands of civilian casualties.”

Rolles noted that while international law condemns the death penalty for drug offenses, the US policy of “capture or kill” doesn’t even necessarily contemplate trying offenders before executing them. “This hit list is something different,” he argued. “They are specifically calling for executions without any recourse to trial, prosecution, or legal norms. Whilst a ‘war’ can arguably create exceptions in terms of targeting ‘enemy combatants,’ the war on terror and war on drugs are amorphous concepts apparently being used to create a blanket exemption under which almost any actions are justified, whether conventionally viewed as legal or not — as recent controversies over torture have all too clearly demonstrated.”

But observers on this side of the water were more sanguine. “This is arguably no different from US forces trying to capture or kill Taliban leaders,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown, an expert on drugs, security, and insurgencies at the Brookings Institution. “As long as you are in a war context and part of your policy is to immobilize the insurgency, this is no different,” she said.

“This supposedly focuses on major traffickers closely aligned to the Taliban and Al Qaeda,” said Ted Galen Carpenter, a foreign policy analyst for the Cato Institute. “That at least is preferable to going around destroying the opium crops of Afghan farmers, but it is still a questionable strategy,” he said.

But even if they can live with hit-listing drug traffickers, both analysts said the success of the policy would depend on how it is implemented. “The major weakness of this new initiative is that it is subject to manipulation — it creates a huge incentive for rival traffickers or people who simply have a quarrel with someone to finger that person and get US and NATO forces to take him out,” said Carpenter, noting that Western forces had been similarly played in the recent past in Afghanistan. “You’ll no doubt be amazed by the number of traffickers who are going to be identified as Taliban-linked. Other traffickers will have a vested interest in eliminating the competition.”

“This is better than eradication,” agreed Felbab-Brown, “but how effective it will be depends to a large extent on how it’s implemented. There are potential pitfalls. One is that you send a signal that the best way to be a drug trafficker is to be part of the government. There needs to be a parallel effort to go after traffickers aligned with the government,” she said.

“A second pitfall is with deciding the purpose of interdiction,” Felbab-Brown continued. “This is being billed as a way to bankrupt the Taliban, but I am skeptical about that, and there is the danger that expectations will not be met. Perhaps this should be focused on limiting the traffickers’ power to corrupt and coerce the state.”

Another danger, said Felbab-Brown, is if the policy is implemented too broadly. “If the policy targets low-level traders even if they are aligned with the Taliban or targets extensive networks of trafficking organizations and ends up arresting thousands of people, its disruptive effects may be indistinguishable from eradication at the local level. That would be economically hurting populations the international community is trying to court.”

Felbab-Brown pointed to the Colombian and Mexican examples to highlight another potential pitfall for the policy of targeting Taliban-linked traffickers. “Such operations could end up allowing the Taliban to take more control over trafficking, as in Colombia after the Medellin and Cali cartels were destroyed, where the FARC and the paramilitaries ended up becoming major players,” she warned. “Or like Mexico, where the traffickers have responded by fighting back against the state. This could add another dimension to the conflict and increase the levels of violence.”

The level of violence is already at its highest level since the US invasion and occupation nearly eight years ago. Last month was the bloodiest month of the war for Western troops, with 76 US and NATO soldiers killed. As of Wednesday, another 28 have been killed this month.