January 11, 2013

Letters to the editor: State coyote hunt poorly thought out

In a year that saw hunters take an increased number of deer, thanks to a mild winter, I am concerned that the previous speculation of deer population declines due to coyote predation has not been re-evaluated.

click image to enlarge

A male Eastern coyote patrols its pen at a wildlife rehabilitation center in northern Maine in 2003. The increase in the state’s deer harvest between 2011 and 2012 should prompt the re-evaluation of the idea that coyotes need to be killed in order to sustain the size of the deer herd, a reader says.

2003 File Photo/The Associated Press

Irresponsible control of a poorly studied species without any core or long-term understanding of their ecological role within a changing ecosystem is out of balance with the crucial need for universal preservation of all wildlife.

Maine's coyote hunt exists as the continuance of an inhumane, unethical and violent tradition that historically escalates and has culminated in the complete extinction of keystone predators such as the Eastern cougar and gray wolf.

By promoting night hunting, no-bag-limit and contest hunting, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has, once again, conceded to the very worst of what being a member of a diverse community can mean.

These tactics of pursuit are outside even the most archaic rules of aggression and/or war. What we allow ourselves to do to coyotes or any existing life is what we do to ourselves and will be the cultural legacy we leave for the future.

We can progress as a society. We can take responsibility for the harm we have caused to our environment, our diverse communities and to our fellow people. But to tolerate this sort of regression in being does great damage to the hope that we will ever begin to meet the incredible challenges we face to fundamentally change; to preserve, honor and protect the world we inhabit.

Joshua O'Donnell


To put end to gun violence, use multipronged strategy

As a pediatrician, husband of a teacher and a father-to-be, my heart goes out to the families in Newtown, Conn. The most basic, instinctive need of parents is to protect their children. As pediatricians, so much of what we do is meant to help parents and caregivers do this. We cannot accept a national culture that tolerates tragedies like Sandy Hook.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has long advocated for changes that will give our country a better chance at protecting our most innocent and vulnerable.

There is no one single solution to the problem of gun violence, but there are a variety of common-sense changes on which I believe the majority of Americans agree. As a nation, we must:

Ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines to the public.

Advocate for strict firearms safety laws.

Improve support for mental health services.

Push for changes in how the media report on acts of mass terror and the perpetrators.

Rethink a culture that sees violence as entertainment.

Limit children's exposure to media violence (e.g., violent movies and video games).

Invest in our youngest, most vulnerable members to foster their healthy, lifelong development.

Pediatricians, parents, teachers and all who care for children nationwide will continue to look for ways to comfort, support, nurture and protect them. We look to our nation's leaders to help prevent further atrocities like Sandy Hook.

Jack Rusley, M.D.

resident physician, internal medicine and pediatrics, Maine Medical Center


Kudos to letter writer Peter Howe of Standish ("Coverage of massacres feeds shooters' wish for attention," Dec. 26). I agree with him completely that the way the media sensationalizes mass killings only challenges the sick people out there, thousands, to outdo previous mass killings. Famous or infamous, does it matter to the sick, warped mind?

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