Thursday, January 08, 2009

Why Are Deer Being Smuggled into Texas?

With a headline like that, you're probably figuring it's so hunters have more wildlife to shoot. You'd be right. The latest issue of Time Magazine says that "[d]eer-breeding is the fastest-growing industry in rural America" according to a 2007 Texas A&M study. Moreover, deer in northern parts of the U.S. tend to grow bigger, which makes them more valuable prizes to the hunters who kill them. Of course, where there is demand, someone will step up to supply.

It's illegal to bring deer into Texas, but that apparently is not stopping anyone. Not only is there a thriving deer-breeding industry, deer-smuggling is alive and well (Well, as an industry. Not so much for the deer, really.)

Time writer Hilary Hylton notes various concerns that this raises: the fact that smugglers undercut the prices of Texas deer breeders, the threat of bringing wasting diseases and so forth across state lines, and of course, the historical dislike of outlaws (think old west cattle smugglers).

But not one quote from anyone who thinks the ban shouldn't just be against bringing deer into the state, but rather shooting them at all. While the article notes an interesting social dilemma (the free market at work and what are legally protectible state interests (ie: disease prevention) versus not-so-much (ie: favoring in-state businesses), it's really hard for me to look at the weighing of factors here and not also think about the value of protecting animals from cruelty... or wonder how that can be left out of the weighing process completely? Personally, it is even more difficult for me to have any empathy for the concerns about underpricing or even wasting disease when there does not seem to be any empathy whatsoever to those most harmed of all. Sad.

1 comment:

Tracy H. said...

This practice is ironic giving hunters' claims that deer have to be killed to prevent them from starving because of deer overpopulation.