An animal rescue group and a lawyer who champions animal rights are urging a Montreal-area city to reconsider a plan to kill about 15 white-tailed deer and donate the meat to a food bank.
The organization, Sauvetage Animal Rescue, along with well-known Montreal lawyer Anne-France Goldwater, urged the city on Monday to consider their plan to relocate the animals to a sanctuary, free of charge.
Goldwater said the money saved from the planned cull could be used to help local food banks.
“I think we’re a pretty rich province; I think we can offer plenty to the poor without killing Bambi and her whole family,” she told reporters.
The city of Longueuil, working with the province’s Forests, Wildlife and Parks Department, obtained a permit to cull roughly half the 30 white-tailed deer living in Michel-Chartrand Park.
Officials have said the deer population is twice what the park can support and that they have exhausted options to deal with the problem. The plan is to kill the animals and donate their meat to a local food bank for the holidays.
A city spokeswoman confirmed that Longueuil had a permit to begin the cull on Monday but could not say if the operation had begun. Eric Dussault, head of the animal rescue group, said police and traps were spotted at the park.
Longueuil’s plan has faced fierce opposition, and police have made arrests in connection with alleged threats against the mayor and local officials.
Dussault said he sent his plan to the city last week. “We’re facing a wall, a political wall that does not want to take into consideration a private solution,” Dussault said.
He and Goldwater say they want to trap the animals, quarantine them, treat them by a veterinarian and transport them to a refuge or sanctuary next summer. They say the plan won’t cost the city anything.
Read more: Longueuil deer cull triggers protest
Goldwater, an animal rights activist, urged the city to meet with her to discuss her plan. She said the animals will be treated well and examined from “the tip of the ears to the tip of their hooves” before they are sedated and transported to a sanctuary.
“These deer are semi-domestic, they have no predators in the park and they are accustomed to the company of humans,” she said.
Goldwater also called on those opposed to the cull to stop threatening local officials. Police have arrested at least three people for threats in recent days.
“I want people to stop attacking the city of Longueuil and its councillors and its mayor,” Goldwater said. “We’re not going to solve this problem with aggression, hostility and confrontation.”
A spokeswoman for Longueuil Mayor Sylvie Parent said Monday that her office did not immediately have a reply to the request for a meeting.