October 5, 2009

Fans of young moose in dispute with state

A young moose rescued after a dog attack has become the center of a dispute between game farm owners and Vermont health officials, authorities said.

Pete the baby moose was brought to an elk farm in Irasburg, Vt., after dogs attacked him in June when he was a month old. David Lawrence, who works at the farm and nursed Pete back to health, calls the moose my son, and invites caravans of visitors to feed Pete apples, bananas and jelly doughnuts.

The farm, owned by Doug Nelson, is one of two captive elk farms in Vermont where hunters pay to shoot elk within fenced confines. The state has ordered both farms to get rid of the estimated 200 deer and dozen moose, including Pete, that live within the fences to reduce the risk of the elk becoming infected with chronic wasting disease.

A move to spare Pete has arisen, with Save Pete the Moose bumper stickers, a Facebook page with 1,646 members and a rally outside the statehouse in Montpelier, The New York Times reported Monday.

State health officials said they're not backing down, while Nelson has threatened to sue the state if an agreement to save Pete can't be reached, The Times reported.