Cornell's campus deer management program meets opposition

Cornell University in Ithaca is wrapping up a deer management program that has suddenly run into opposition from a number of residents and animal rights advocates.

The Cornell campus has long struggled with what it calls a "chronic deer overpopulation on its lands." Those lands include the nature trails throughout the campus, open spaces, woodlands and agricultural research facilities.

For the past two years, Cornell has obtained nuisance deer control permits from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. From February 1 through March 31, the university has eradicated deer through the use of archers and a devise called a Clover trap.

Many people in and around Cornell oppose the deer management effort. They're led by James LaVeck, a documentary film producer and animal rights advocate. "We feel we're speaking for a lot of people who don't want our community to become an open air slaughterhouse." LaVeck told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon Tuesday.

LaVeck's website, is sponsoring an on-line petition drive urging Cornell University to end the use of lethal means to control the campus deer population. He says 1,500 people have signed the petition since Sunday. has included a YouTube video depicting the capture of a deer in aClover trap.

LaVeck says once the animal is subdued, its captors will kill it by shooting a metal bolt through its brain. "The DEC has an agenda and the Cornell Department of Natural Resources serves that agenda. They have an interest in carrying out these types of programs, documenting them and using them as a mainstream approach across our state." LaVeck claims

Cornell issued a statement to CNY Central that deer management program "is essential to protect agricultural research... protect the health and safety of faculty staff and students... and protect rural and suburban neighbors." "The deer management program at Cornell includes decades-old regulated hunting and surgical sterilization since 2007, but these efforts alone have not proven completely effective. For that reason, for the past two years, Cornell has applied for and received...nuisance deer control permits to help meet management goals."

It goes on to say, "Researchers use collapsible Clover traps to humanely capture and then euthanize deer."

The statement says the meat is donated for human consumption.

Click here to download and read the full text of the statement.

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