Final Argumentation Essay: In Support of Meat
More than ten years after the essay in our textbook, “For Environmental Balance, Pick up a Rifle,” first appeared in the NY Times, the author, Nickolas Kristof, continues to write for the NY Times as a columnist. This long-term relationship with The Gray Lady is quite an achievement for a writer in a tough market of New York readers. The original essay needed aggressive wording to grab attention of readers who peruse the paper while crowded into buses and trains. It is engaging, humorous, and compellingly holds the readers’ attention right through to the end. Kristof is correct in his claim that the solution to the deer over-population lies in thinning out the herds through hunting. Alternate methods of deer population management do not exist in the suburbs. We certainly do not want to restore the natural predators of deer, because humans would be on these predators’ menu, too. Deer food laced with contraceptives has limited effectiveness because deer migrate regularly over an area of up to 25 square miles. Therefore, the deer who ate the contraceptive might not be the deer who winter over in that area and give birth in spring. Once the medicinally-laced food is put out, no guarantee exists that deer would be the only ones to eat it.
Another significant problem caused by the over-population of white-tailed deer is the prevalence of auto accidents involving deer. Each November, deer become more active, especially around sunset, for the mating season. This coincides with suburban commuter hour and with shorter daylight hours that come with fall. Collisions with deer cost the insurance industry in excess of one billion dollars annually and kill approximately 200 people. Over one million deer-vehicle collisions occurred in the 12-month period between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, and cost more than $4 billion in damage, according to State Farm (Insurance Information Institute).
NJ Audubon Society supports shooting deer as a humane solution to a man-made ecological imbalance. Deer graze constantly and chew up new growth tender shoots that would have grown into the understory of an entire forest. This understory normally provides habitats for a great many species of birds, small mammals, rodents and plants that are indigenous to the eastern states. This means the foreign invasive species that deer do not eat remain the only vegetation left to grow. The populations of the indigenous plants and animals are in danger of extinction due to loss of habitat. This fact is echoed by the Wildlife Extension Services of Cornell University. In the March 10, 2014 issue of the Cornell Chronicle, an article boldly stated that “deer are preventing forests from establishing” (Friedlander). Deer are also a part of the cycle that spreads Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. While some cases of Lyme disease are cured by courses of antibiotics, a significant percent of people suffer long-term and...