Citizens Protest Point Reyes Deer Massacre - Media Arrives, Killing Halted For One Day
Point Reyes, CA | January 28, 2008
At 6 a.m. this morning, a group of Marin County citizens and leaders of
compassionate organizations arrived at Marshall Beach Road in the Point Reyes
National Seashore. The road was blocked by a team of NPS vehicles and helicopters
were standing at the ready to begin the slaughter of the tiny remnant of Axis
deer that call the seashore their home.
The gentle and beautiful Axis deer have lived in the Park for generations and
are greatly valued by both the local people and the one million tourists who visit
the seashore annually. The National Park Service began killing both the Axis deer
and the resident Fallow deer in the summer of 2007. The NPS hired mercenary animal
killers White Buffalo, Inc., whose methods of extermination include shooting from
helicopters, beating and stabbing deer to death, and suffocating them with plastic
bags. A grass roots effort has devoted months and months of time in an attempt to
halt these inhumane killings of cherished local deer.
Among the citizens who arrived at the Park to protest the obliteration of the
herd of Axis deer were independent photographers and filmmakers, one of whom took
the accompanying photo of this helicopter with the business name covered with
adhesive tape. A close look shows the icon of a helicopter casting a net over a ram.
Secrecy is one of the tactics used by the NPS and White Buffalo, Inc. to keep their
bloody activities hidden from the compassionate public gaze.
Plans to herd the remaining Axis deer into a hole and open fire on them were
temporarily put on hold today not only because of the presence of citizen protesters,
but by the unexpected arrival of major media, including news stations 2, 4, 5, and
7 (KGO, KPIX).
The protesters, described by one eyewitness as a mature and civil gathering, stood
looking across the barricade at White Buffalo, Inc.'s helicopters and gunmen.
Another eyewitness described the scene as frustrating while Point Reyes National
Seashore spokesman John Del Osso allegedly denied that any hunt was going forward
today. Both media and local protesters could clearly see evidence to the contrary.
Eventually, the helicopter and Park-owned ATVs set out in the direction of the
ravine, where Axis deer were sheltering. ABC's helicopter was also on site, prepared
to film the killing of the Axis deer. Witnesses assumed at this point that the
massacre would now take place and the majority of them got back into their cars and
headed for the NPS field office in order to meet the additional press that was
arriving and to speak to Point Reyes National Seashore Superintendent Don Neubacher.
The Proposal of In Defense of Animals
Upon arrival, renowned veterinarian and president of In Defense of Animals,
Dr. Elliot Katz, approached Superintendent Neubacher to attempt to negotiate.
In Defense of Animals offered to buy out the remainder of White Buffalo, Inc.'s
contract and add to this sum a 10% incentive in order to put a halt to the
slaughter of local deer. With TV news cameras rolling and the eyes of the
gathering eagerly watching, Sup. Neubacher flatly refused to negotiate.
The accompanying photograph shows Dr. Elliot Katz presenting a letter containing
IDA's proposal. According to bystanders, Dr. Katz made a previous attempt to
communicate his proposal to Sup. Neubacher via email, and Neubacher was heard to
say that he had not received any email regarding the contract buyout offer.
"The presence of the media really put the Park on the defensive," said
Marin resident Cindy McCullough. "Neubacher made it very clear that the killings
will go forward."
Likely, however, it was this very element of the media that altered the Park's
intended outcome for the day. When protesters returned to the Marshall Beach Road
location, White Buffalo, Inc. had returned and was packing up their gear to leave
with no apparent signs of the massacre having been undertaken. With the arrival
of yet more media in the area around noon today, the NPS evidently decided to
halt the shootings for one day.
"Neubacher is still intending to go ahead with the killings," said McCullough.
"But today, we showed our strength and gained a lot of interest for what is
happening here. White Buffalo is supposed to leave on Thursday, and until then,
this area will be watched. We invite others to join us in our request for humane
management of the deer."
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