Fallow Deer
AN article in the Cape Argus on 23 June 2017 has again raised the spectre which occurred between 2000 and 2009, when FALLOW DEER, rabbits and other creatures, were hunted and killed on Robben Island by the Robben Island Museum authorities and other like-minded organisations. This is scheduled to happen again with immediate effect and we have heard that two Fallow Deer will be shot every night until all 450 have been killed. According to an article in the press, the meat will be given to staff on the Island. As before, there has been no public participation. We ask all animal lovers to work together to get an urgent interdict to stop this carnage until a humane solution to relocate these exquisite animals to a safe sanctuary can take place, where they can live out their lives in peace. South African "conservationists" appear to have only one solution for animals and other creatures, which they, in their infinite "wisdom," deem to be unworthy of life. Their solution is to pull out their guns or poisons (which occurred in the case of the endangered Himalayan Tahr) or euthanase needles and embark on shooting and killing sprees ending in celebratory braais (South Africa's national pastime, second only to rugby). Never mind that Cape Town in particular suffers from endemic violence to both adults and young children with little being done to stop this, why not add to the violence by summarily killing and wiping out any non-human creatures as well on a whim? Of course this extermination daren't smack of colonialism, so there will be no John Peel with his hounds and his horn in the morning. Instead a "professional" hunter or hunters will do the dirty work and most likely enjoy every minute of every kill (although how anyone who kills animals for pleasure can be called a "professional" is hard to understand. "Psychopath" would perhaps be more appropriate). During the last extermination which was documented in the New York Times, hunters on quadbikes had a grand time wiping out about 100 Fallow Deer on one weekend alone, while two employees from Marine and Coastal Management on quadbikes are probably still shooting rabbits and cats using spotlights at night (what happens to the baby rabbits who die slowly underground after their mothers are shot? What happens to the carefully hidden kittens starving to death and waiting in vain for their mothers to nurture them). All this, while the sterilisation drugs that were bought, were gathering mould and dust on the shelves of someone's forgotten office on Robben Island. The answer is simple, sterilise the "problem" animals and remove them from the Island. Add other South African practises to the list, such as breeding and killing donkeys for their skins and lions for their bones in the interests of Chinese medicines, exterminating rhinos and elephants for their tusks and horns, as well as breeding lions for "canned" hunting and cubs for petting by uninformed tourists, so why should one be upset by the killing of 400 Fallow Deer, after all they are not even "true" South Africans? But then again how indigenously South African are the hunters, the "conservationists" and their like minded cohorts? How does one test and authenticate what or who should live or die? Who gives them the authority to implement such lethal decisions? Hunters, conservationists and their ilk contribute significantly towards the endemic violence in our country. Kill, kill, kill - a clear message is sent to the perpetrators of violence who thrive on taking away the lives of others whom they consider to be vermin. The tragedy is that South Africa is sinking deeper and deeper into the mire of having no respect for life of any sort. We are teaching our children that it is perfectly in order to kill someone or something of whom we don't approve or for monetary gain. There is no independent thought, no respect for life and no humane alternatives are put forward, just a "follow the leader" approach, which is happening all over the world even now as these words are being written. South Africa is in a unique position to promote humane alternatives and thereby set our country on a different path towards the lowering of levels of violence. Our organisation has been running Humane Education and Youth Enrichment Programmes in high-risk areas since 2011 with exceptionally successful results. This is what our decision makers should be concentrating on. Interaction with animals and nature, plus other positive sensitisation techniques have undoubtedly been the catalysts in changing negative and cruel behaviour into compassionate and empathetic attitudes towards both people and animals. It is long overdue that our leaders (are there any?) should promote feelings of kindness, respect, non-violence, compassion and empathy towards all species on earth and to value the miracle which is our only world, before there is nothing left. Cicely Blumberg Founder: Adopt a Rescued Animal t/a Adopt-a-Pet Former Director: Friends of the Tahr 074 5199600 adoptapet@telkomsa.net www.adopt-a-pet.org.za