Letters to the Editor

Desire for respectful dialogue regarding the American Camp rabbits

I am writing a very personal response to the current controversy regarding the rabbit population on the south end of San Juan Island.

The San Juan Island National Historical Park is proposing the extermination of the South Beach rabbit population. This is based upon an environmental impact statement stemming from numerous studies of the South Beach ecosystem.

This is a tough, emotional issue for many (I'm sure the global state of affairs is contributing). There is the “Save the Rabbits” camp and the “Save our Native Ecosystem” camp. Sides have been taken, lines have been drawn, anger is on the rise.

What bothers me is the seeming lack of thoughtful, respectful dialogue, particularly on the part of the “Save the Rabbits” side. I have chosen not to take “sides”, understanding that this is a complicated issue, and that nothing is gained from polarization. I

have listened to and read the various arguments, spoken to many people, and have experienced the South Beach bluffs on probably thousands of occasions.

Ultimately, I have come to the difficult (and heart-wrenching) conclusion that the rabbits of South Beach have to go, for the betterment of the long-term health of the native ecosystem and its native inhabitants.

To put this in perspective ... I have lived on San Juan Island for over 30 years. I love love LOVE this island and its diverse community of plants, animals, people, bugs, rocks, spirits ... you name it. I have traveled all over the world and have never found somewhere I love as much as here.

I consider myself an “environmentalist” (whatever that means). I am vocal and active regarding environmental and social issues, locally and more broadly. I purchase organic and local. I have been a vegetarian my whole life. Years ago I took a spiritual oath to live in compassion and non-violence. I want to take every stray animal I find home. I cannot manage to squish a bug or a slug. Yet SOMEHOW I have come to the opinion that the South Beach rabbit population has to be killed off, for the betterment of the whole system.

I feel great sadness for the rabbits who will die. I feel great sadness for the people who will kill them. I wish them all peace in this world and beyond.

I would greatly appreciate a kind dialogue with any person or persons who could give me evidence that this is not necessary. I would welcome a strong reason to have my opinion changed.

Rosa Blair
Friday Harbor

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