HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A village in Westchester County is considering controlling the rising deer population by darting the animals with a contraceptive.
Hastings-on-Hudson is considering implementing a technique called immunocontraception that would prevent deer from becoming pregnant for two years, officials said.
Mayor Peter Swiderski said the overpopulation of deer is diminishing the quality of life for residents in the community.
“There’s dozens of cases of Lyme disease in our town, there’s damage to property and cars,” Swiderski told WCBS 880.”It’s a real issue; it’s not a trivial concern.”
The mayor added that the overpopulation of deer damages the understory in parks, resulting in a long term imbalance in the environmental health of the forest.
“There’s a range of negative effects that overpopulation of deer have on a community and we suffer from all of them,” Swiderski told 1010 WINS.
The five-year experiment would be subsidized by grants from foundations concerned with the ethical treatments of animals.
“This particular experiment is going to be heavily subsidized; it’s not going to cost the village a significant amount of money,” Swiderski said.
Volunteers will begin gathering preliminary research for the birth control project by early next year and the village expects soon to receive state and federal environmental approval for the plan, officials said.
The project would be led by Tufts University veterinary expert Allen Rutberg.
“It’s one of the first efforts, really in the country, for a dense suburb like ours to try to control the burgeoning deer population by the use of immunocontraception,” Swiderski said.
The mayor insists the program is both ethical and safe.
“It’s safe to deer, it’s safe to people and there’s no moral objection to it — no deer is losing its life here,” Swiderski said. “It’s economically affordable and it addresses an issue that really affects people’s quality of life.”
The darting could begin by 2014.
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