Controlling a Species: Humans Being Humane
by Amy Lignor
Humane. There is a reason why this word and human are basically spelled the same. What needs to happen, however, is for them to mean the same. There are societies out there that talk about just that. From clubs to groups to volunteer organizations that protect all varieties of our animal friends, “humane” is one act that they wish would be considered in any and all situations.
One species that can overrun various areas of this country very quickly are deer. Deer hunting is certainly legal and allowed, but when it comes to “killing programs” that have been created expressly for the purpose of reducing deer populations by utilizing only weapons, controversy abounds. This controversy doesn’t just come up when talking about how difficult and unsafe it is to “kill” deer in urban and suburban areas; the fact is, killing deer does not actually result in any long-term population reduction whatsoever. Hence, why wildlife fertility control was thought up by a stellar human mind, and has become a way to easily and safely stop the killing.
In Billings, Montana, the Science and Conservation Center can be found. This Center’s mission is to control deer and various wildlife populations that have grown, or could grow, out of control by means of fertility vaccines. The Center is the world’s only dedicated facility for the development of wildlife contraceptives and methods for its application. They not only distribute the vaccine where needed, but the Center is also the repository for all records and data required by the Food and Drug Administration.
Wildlife contraception is not new, yet to many it remains a mystery. Questions come up every day about different species and settings and how the fertility drug would or could even work.
There is, to this day, a great deal of misunderstanding about this subject – arguments made that by following this path instead of killing a species outright will negatively affect the economy. Again, a belief that is simply untrue.
Called PZP, this vaccine can be used to control fertility in adult female deer and other mammals. Unlike other fertility control vaccines that have been created and tried out, causing unacceptable and undesirable behavior changes in a species, PZP goes no farther than preventing fertilization from occurring. Being a natural protein, it is completely safe to the animal and can be delivered by hand or – so as not to disturb the species – remotely inserted using a dart gun.
With just one treatment, the PZP vaccine can now prevent deer from having fawns for up to three years, reducing the time needed to dart the animals and the cost needed for treating the deer.
Since the 1990s, several successful PZP immunocontraception research projects on deer have been done. Primary goals of these projects were to judge how effective PZP was in deer and whether or not more than 200 of them could be darted each year. Both goals were achieved quite easily. But the most important piece of data discovered was that just PZP alone could stabilize and reduce a deer population over time. Thus, taking away the need for killing.
During the time certain organizations have utilized PZP, the number of deer collisions/car accidents have dramatically decreased. The deer have become healthier and growth rates remain low, even with the fact that urbanization has resulted in more deer migration. Over a five-year period, the deer population decreased by nearly 60 percent when it came to the Fripp Island project. And with fewer deer, fewer tragedies have occurred.
In the end, people must educate themselves on the PZP vaccine before adding to the arguments. If they do, they will see that this has most definitely become a proven way to save human lives without having to wipe any other species off the map.
Source: Baret News