New York Mayor Supports a Very Different Kind of Birth Control Program

By on May 12, 2016 with 6 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

This week, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced an innovative and humane deer management program for the borough of Staten Island. It’s a humane response to the conflicts that some citizens on the island are having with more than 700 deer, and Mayor de Blasio’s plan provides a workable, non-lethal approach that can save the deer and steer the community away from any public safety problems associated with public hunting or sharpshooting.

Staten Island’s multifaceted approach will include sterilization, education, and the protection of natural resources, and is “smart, effective, and humane,” Mayor de Blasio said in a press release. “We’re confident this is the best plan to ensure the safety and happiness of Staten Islanders who have been affected by the growing deer population,” he added. The city hopes to reduce deer vehicle collisions, vegetation and habitat loss, and personal property damage. The public education component of the plan will include outreach on topics, including public health issues such as tick-borne disease transmission. The deer population itself will be addressed with surgical intervention, by giving vasectomies to males in the herd.

Last year, as part of my research for my book, The Humane Economy, I traveled around the United States – from the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson in New York to remote federal lands in northwest Colorado — to observe how HSUS biologists and field researchers are collaborating with scientists, federal agencies, local municipalities, and other NGOs to revolutionize the way we manage wildlife.

The fertility control program in Hastings-on-Hudson focused on deer, while the Colorado program targeted wild horses. In both cases, we worked with our partners to put fertility control programs to work to stabilize and reduce wildlife populations over time without the need for cruel, ineffective, and unsustainable culls. Several communities across the United States, including California, Maryland, Ohio, South Carolina, and Virginia, are exploring the use of such non-lethal programs to manage deer populations.

The HSUS has really pushed for this kind of forward thinking, so we applaud Mayor de Blasio and New York City for this unprecedented program that, if successful, could become a model for other communities.

Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Sally Palmer says:

    This is so, so exciting to see your vision of the humane economy becoming reality with people like Mayor de Blasio joining in seeing that vision and providing leadership to help others understand how it benefits human and animal beings, business, and the planet.

  2. Mayor Peter Swiderski says:

    Wayne –
    It’s been a real pleasure working with the HSUS on the Deer Immunocontraception project in Hastings-on-Hudson. They have proven to be true partners in this innovative effort to control the out-of-control deer population in our community. Your sustained and consistent multi-year commitment to this experiment is laudable and a terrific use of resources. In the next few years, we will see if the project is having an impact on numbers – and begin to make a transition to a ongoing, sustained basis that could be potentially replicated across literally thousands of communities that share our problem. That’s exciting and satisfying and evidence that a new solution to a problem that has vexed communities now for the last couple of decades is possible.

    Thank you for your support.

    • Lisa says:

      No one is describing how the animals are sterilized? What exactly happens? Is it stressful for them? How are they captured and then released? Is it painful to them in any way? Does it require local anesthesia? Details please.

      • Jim P says:

        Having been involved hands on tagging Canadian Geese in an effort to convince a local municipality to allow them to remain there and migrate back every year, I think anyone that involves themselves in this type of program resort to nothing but the safest, least traumatic ways to handle the animals. I know that my group spent over 7 days to put one tag on our last Canadian Goose because he wouldn’t go into the humane trap on his own. Several times even though we had caught him, we decided to quickly release him because he ” freaked out ” and everyone thought he may have injured himself.

  3. Jim P says:

    I used to work in an area that became over populated by deer. While I enjoyed seeing them everyday I often became fearful whenever the deer got close to the highway. This became a bigger issue as populations grew and food became harder to find. To many deer ran out into traffic and were killed by passing vehicles until a local company decided to try to relocate the deer. It didn’t take long until they realized that it was less expensive and more importantly, easier on the deer to sterilize the bucks and as the new fawns were born they’d sterilize all of the males.
    I think I only witnessed one deer vehicle incident after that, compared to probably 20 a year prior to the program and even 10 a year with only using a relocation program.

  4. Brendan Casey says:

    Please visit us in Ann Arbor. We need your enlightenment very much.
    Thank you

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