The Department of Natural Resources is halting its plans to force white-tailed deer farmers to close their operations as it studies the industry.
Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup said on Tuesday the provincial government will study the risks and benefits of farming white-tailed deer.
"Government has listened to all sides and has decided we need to better understand all the facts associated with the raising of white-tailed deer in captivity,’’ he said in a statement.
"We have asked staff to review the regulatory processes in place in other jurisdictions that allow white-tailed deer to be raised in captivity.’’
Deer farmers had been given a June 15 deadline to remove the white-tailed deer. That deadline has been suspended.
The review will give the provincial government enough information to decide on whether it will allow white-tailed deer farming, Northrup said.
Liberal MLA Donald Arseneault applauded the provincial government's decision to halt the plan to get rid of white-tailed deer farms in the province.
Arseneault has been criticizing the plan in recent weeks.
"I do want to take the time on the behalf of the deer farmers of New Brunswick to thank the minister of natural resources to finally, to finally listen to the Liberal Opposition and actually act in a rational way instead of basing his decision based only on emotions," Arseneault said in the legislature.
"This is a good day for those deer farmers in New Brunswick."
Under the Fish and Wildlife Act, white-tailed deer cannot be kept in captivity, regardless whether they were bred or raised in captivity.
The provincial government discovered 15 illegal operations with a total of more than 140 deer during an internal investigation launched last fall.
In October 2011, Donald Dubé, 55, of Saint-Léonard, was attacked and killed by a buck in his backyard pen.