Parks to test if deer birth control makes venison unsafe

CLEVELAND (AP) - Deer birth control could someday return to Cleveland Metroparks.

The deer population is exploding in the parks and throughout the Cleveland suburbs. But animal activists and other residents are upset at the current solution of putting out bait and shooting deer to death.

Metroparks officials started a five-year study of a vaccine derived from pigs that acts as a contraceptive for does. But last month they called off the study a year early because deer birth rates more than tripled since 2004.

The manufacturer blames a bad batch of vaccine.

Now parks officials are testing the contraceptive again with a different formula. This time they want to test whether the chemical makes the venison unsafe. Deer shot in the program usually are donated to food banks.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)