Saturday, October 08, 2005
The High Cost of Animal Rights Rhetoric
The lunatic fringe of the Animal Rights movement has a wide array of schemes to dodge the need for game management, especially the management of deer. One of the more common proposals is to "relocate deer" which sounds easy enough until you discover how very expensive it is.
In the 1980s, an overpopulation of deer led to a relocation effort from Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay area. Deer were captured and relocated at a cost of $431 per deer. Most deer died due to stress of relocation, bringing the final cost to $2,876 for each deer that survived one year. Set aside this last little bit of inconvenient reality.
If state and local governments were to "relocate" the 3,000,000 deer that are shot annually in the U.S. by hunters, where would these deer be relocated to? As far as I know the only people that want 3,000,000 deer are people with cooking pots in the developing world ... and American hunters.
Now let's look at the costs. The cost of relcoating 3,000,000 deer at a price of $400 per unit (we will assume some economies of scale), is $1,200,000,000 per year. Of course, this is not the real cost of relocating deer -- we also have all that lost revenue from hunting licenses, and the loss of entire industries based on hunting equipment, taxidermy, guiding, hunting publications, meat processing, as well as the travel costs associated with hunting.