GMO food labeling, deer population culling: What should we do?

deer management

There has been a great deal of noise in the news lately about food related issues. From state battles over GMO food labeling to the most recent debate over deer population “culling” on the East End of Long Island, one can become very confused about what to think, what to do and what to eat.

Deciding what one believes in is much easier as an intellectual exercise. It takes on a whole new meaning when it is a matter of hunger. In the case of GMO foods, for those who believe that genetic modification is dangerous, of course one wants food labeled so it can be avoided. But what if non-GMO food is too expensive and beyond ones budget?

    Image credit left: from the DEC, White-tailed deer – Odocoileus virginianus, Photo: Susan Shafer. Image credit right:, Photo: Shuttershtock.

In addition, we keeping hearing that the number of hungry and needy people keeps growing. Statistics show that the face of food stamp recipients has changed. The majority has shifted from the elderly to working age folks who can not make ends meet.

We are part of both the new demographic and the old demographic of hungry people. We have had our food stamps slashed to 5% of our original monthly benefit. The immediate result of that was that we had to turn to the food pantries. I have never seen food pantry packaging indicating whether or not the contents contain genetically modified food. I suppose I am consuming GMO food. So I ‘bless it’ before I eat it. Not only that, it is actually already blessed. The mere fact that someone has donated it so that I can eat is a blessing.

What about the latest news about shooting some deer or culling the deer population as it is called? The East End of Long Island is overrun with deer. They eat vegetation on people’s property. They ignore the boundaries that man has set for what is his and what is theirs. They are also disease infested. But they are regal as bucks and does. They are adorable as fawns. How can we justify killing them? It is inhumane or is it more human than many realize? Nature keeps a balance when left to its own devices. When we take actions that ignore or destroy the balance, something has to be done to rebalance it. In this case, it is called ‘Deer Management’.

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Here are the choices with the issue of deer population culling:

    1. Kill off some of the deer population to trim down the herds.
    2. Sterilize the males.

I see no point in sterilizing the males. Contrary to my liberal, formerly ‘New Age’ thinking, I am now a pragmatist. I believe there are two very good reasons for choosing deer population culling:
1. The food is needed by the growing number of hungry people including myself.
2. We need to trim down the deer over-population since other methods are not working or being introduced.

If things go as planned, sharpshooters will be brought in from the Department of Environmental Conservation to carry out the deer population culling. The deer meat will be donated to Island Harvest and if I am lucky enough, my food pantry will receive it. I will get to have some of it. I was introduced to elk earlier this year. It will be interesting to see how deer meat tastes now since I have not had it for about 25 years.

GMO food labeling
ThoughtShaker | GMOs: Get To Know Your Food

Have I compromised my beliefs? Do I think GMO food is as healthy as non-GMO food? Do I no longer care about wildlife protection? The answer to all these questions is NO. So what has happened to my optimistically liberal perspective? I became one of The Middle Class Poor, the hungry Middle Class Poor and I am grateful for the blessed food I receive. It may not be up to my ‘preferred standards’. But when one gets hungry, one is grateful to eat.

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