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May 21,2007 - The shoe is on the other foot

It’s interesting to see how opinions change when critics standing on the sidelines of an issue suddenly become involved in the issue. I share two recent situations in my Chicago area.

A radio listener in a Chicago suburb called me a couple years ago to strongly express her opposition to a decision in her community to thin the deer population. The culling would be done by Park District officials who would shoot deer in a Forest Preserve. She called the idea inhumane and offered this solution...tranquilize the deer, load them in a truck and haul them out to farm country because “farmers love deer”. My role would be to call my farmer listeners and suggest that they volunteer to take the deer.

Now, fast-forward to this spring and a phone call from the same lady complaining bitterly that over the winter deer had destroyed the $15,000.00 worth of landscaping material installed in her back yard last fall. Without saying “I told you so”, I told her that’s what happens when you have an overpopulation of deer and their natural habitat has been taken over by houses. She admitted she is now ready to accept a culling program.

Second issue...cattle and sheep producers in the West have known for decades that coyotes take a heavy toll of young calves and lambs and have been asking for the right to control these predators. Animal rights groups and others have successfully protested the right of producers to use poisons or other controls and the losses have continued.

Now move from the West to Crystal Lake, IL, another Chicago suburb, where several nights ago a lady was out walking her two small dogs near a Forest Preserve when a coyote, in her words “the size of a German Shepherd”, came out of the woods, grabbed one of the dogs and drug it into the woods. Her husband managed to scare the coyote away, but not in time to save the dog’s life. It is no surprise that now Chicago and suburban residents are demanding a control program because the coyote population has grown to sizeable numbers. Indeed, the view changes when you become directly involved.

Finally, a quick followup on the Samuelson Sez a few weeks ago on the subject of horse slaughter. I knew I would receive a lot of emotional, even heated, response on that one. But once we get beyond the emotion, what do we do with the horses whose owners can’t afford to feed them or are simply not responsible and turn them loose to die. Kentucky officials estimate there are several thousand old horses roaming the strip mine areas of the state in that condition. Give me a sensible answer on solving that problem.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.