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In Defense Of Animals Wins Landmark Injunction To Stop Deer Massacre At Binghamton University

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Barbara Stagno, New York Campaign Coordinator, In Defense of Animals: 914-479-5276; Attorney David Bernheim: 914-271-6323

In Defense Of Animals Wins Landmark Injunction To Stop Deer Massacre At Binghamton University

Binghamton, N.Y. (December 28, 2011) - In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal protection organization with over 100,000 members, announced today that it was granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) in response to its request to the New York State Supreme Court in Broome County Court to block a planned deer slaughter at Binghamton University.

IDA's lawsuit sought to stop Binghamton University, one of the New York state universities, from moving forward with a plan to kill deer on the 300 acre nature preserve owned by the university. Binghamton University had contracted with White Buffalo, Inc., a company that provides gunman who bait and shoot deer with rifles during the night. The plan called for slaughtering ninety percent of the deer on the nature preserve.

IDA was a co-plaintiff in the suit, which was also filed by a resident whose home is adjacent to the nature preserve.

Citing multiple arguments that highlighted the risk to public safety, IDA sought to block the deer massacre from taking place. IDA also criticized Binghamton University for not considering more humane and less extreme means of dealing with deer, including protective fencing, road crossing safety devices, and immunocontraception, which renders deer infertile for two years with a single injection. Such measures could be implemented for the same or less cost than hiring sharpshooters.

Attorney David Bernheim, who represented IDA, said: 'To my knowledge, this injunction is the first of its kind in New York and possibly other states as well. The legal bar for getting an injunction is extremely high, which makes this decision noteworthy.'

Judge Molly Fitzgerald issued the TRO largely based on Binghamton University's failure to comply with New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR). Her decision concludes: 'In the case at bar, defendants have, to date, fallen short of their procedural obligations. Their contention that SEQR compliance in regards to this action is not necessary, is incorrect.'

'We believe Judge Fitzgerald's decision was thoughtful and fair,' stated Mr. Bernheim. 'Her ruling held the university accountable to its claim that the deer slaughter was an environmental decision, yet they had hoped to get around the state law requiring a preliminary environmental review.'

'Once we move past the environmental review, we will ask Judge Fitzgerald to consider the other arguments we presented, especially the issue of public safety,' added Bernheim.

Barbara Stagno, IDA's New York Campaign Coordinator who helped develop the case, said: 'This decision gives us a fighting chance to stop the Binghamton deer slaughter, now and forever. The key is to get the facts to the public and the Binghamton University community, including the new university president who will take office on January 1.'

Stagno continued: 'The notion that deer are the enemies of the nature preserve is absurd. Deer are part of the ecosystem, not outside invaders. Ecological imbalances are the result of human intervention, not deer. If our forests are out of balance, it's because of the selfish and anthropocentric way we have dealt with wildlife and nature. Hiring sharpshooters to kill ninety percent of the deer in a nature preserve is just a continuation of that unfortunate mindset.'

### In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals' rights, welfare, and habitat through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi.

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