I didn’t wake up this morning expecting to write this next sentence: I just got off the phone with Bob Barker.
The former “Price is Right” host and fierce animal defender -- “Have your pets spay or neutered!” -- has inserted himself into a debate in Rockville over controlling the city’s booming deer population.
“It is fact,” he wrote in his two-page letter, “that deer shot by arrows often linger for days in agony. Not fair for the deer who has been hit, not fair for the other deer who are witness to this; and not fair to the youngster who might encounter that deer while walking to school.”
I got Barker, now 87, on the phone to hear how he learned of a deer brouhaha far, far away from his California home and why he was so moved by to write. (I opened the conversation by telling him that I was basically raised watching his show, and he said, “Well, you must have a very well-adjusted family.” If he only knew them.)
Barker said he had been alerted by Rockville resident and animal activist Carol E. McCormick, whose name he spelled.
“I help animals in every state of the union and other countries as well,” he told me. “If I can be of help here, I will.”
Killing deer, Barker said, is totally unacceptable. The price is not right. And he’s putting his vast wealth into action, promising to send McCormick $1,500 for a billboard campaign that will not look like Plinko.
“That’s always the first answer from any city government: Kill them,” Barker told me. “That’s the thing to do: Kill them. All the deer hunters say, ‘Yeah, let’s kill them.’”
Until that option is off the table, Barker won’t relent.
“Many of us were born with a natural instinct to love and protect animals,” he said. “I am grateful that I was. People who go through life without being closely associated with animals really miss a wonderful experience in life.”
Do you agree with Barker? Come on down in the comments section to weigh in. And here’s his letter: