The highly contested deer cull in Longueuil’s Michel-Chartrand Park can go ahead as planned, according to a recent Superior Court judge decision.
Judge Andres Garin has rejected the request for a safeguard order by the organization Sauvetage Animal Rescue, allowing the cull of an estimated 60 deer in the park.
As a result, the City of Longueuil says it will persist with its plans to hold a controlled hunt with crossbows this fall.
Details of the hunt will be released in the near future but the city did say in a statement that the park will be closed to the public during the cull.
Last spring, the park was home to more than 100 deer — almost 10 times the number that experts say it can comfortably support.
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The deer population has increased 238 per cent over the past five years.
The deer population in Michel-Chartrand Park must decrease and be controlled to prevent the situation from deteriorating, Longueuil Mayor Catherine Fournier has said.
Animal rights groups oppose the hunt, claiming a more humane option could be presented.
Lawyer Anne France Goldwater, representing Sauvetage Animal Rescue, is arguing for relocating the forest animals or spaying and neutering them to stop repopulating.
The Montreal SPCA, which is acting as an intervener in the case, says they will appeal the judge’s decision.
In a statement, the SPCA believes that the Superior Court made several errors in its analysis.
“Despite this first setback before the Superior Court, the Montreal SPCA is not ready to give up on this case,” wrote Sophie Gaillard, Acting Executive Director and Director of Animal Advocacy and Legal Affairs at the Montreal SPCA. “The case of the deer in Michel-Chartrand Park is emblematic of an issue that is becoming more prevalent in Quebec, and our intervention aims to broaden the debate and trigger a real reflection on the responsible and ethical management of wildlife in our communities.”
–With files from Global’s Gloria Henriquez