By Letter to the Editor on May 22, 2020.
Re: John Nightingale’s May 13 response to my April 30 letter to the editor entitled “Deer can also pose a contagious disease danger.” Nowhere in my letter did I state “to cull the herd.” In Mr. Nightingale’s letter, four times he falsely attributes “cull” and “culling” to my article. The only reference I made to “culling” deer was in reference to “operational projects” in British Columbia that included “fencing to restrict deer movement, culling programs and translocations.”
While correcting false and misleading information in Mr. Nightingale’s letter, his reference to me in relation to Dilettante Donald is defaming, even slanderous. While D.D. has been proven by the Washington Post to have made more than 18,000 false statements as president, declared bankruptcy six times, is a misogynist and financially corrupt, I have had none of those nefarious attributes.
In my article, aimed primarily at key Alberta and Lethbridge leaders, I stated “É now is an appropriate time to be developing policies and plans for action related to other prospective contagious diseases.” From that basic objective, I outlined the prospects of diseases being transmitted by fleas, ticks and deer. “Such insects have a long history of being linked to plagues,” citing the examples of The Black Death and the Great Plague of London. Further, I pointed out that since 2000, SARS, MERS and COVID-19 have “jumped” from animals to people. Then I asked a vital question: “Since deer are known to be carriers of fleas and ticks, what is to prevent another contagious disease to ‘jump’ from deer to people?”
Deer are wild animals. Unlike dogs which need to be licensed and controlled in our civilized city, deer are allowed to roam, defecating and urinating uncontrollably. In Lethbridge, horses and dogs are not allowed to roam freely. People with dogs are responsible for their dog’s “doodoo.” Developing countries, such as Belarus, Russia and other former Soviet Union nations, lack such public health regulations. During my years as an international prof and management consultant, I have had personal experiences of eating at homes and restaurants where horses, cows, pigs, chickens and other “farm” animals were close to human eating areas.
Our community, nation and world are facing a pandemic unlike any in their histories. In one’s efforts, however small, to limit such human destruction, responsible citizens should not be subjected to denigration.
Al Barnhill, Ph.D