The cull has been criticised by animal rights activists

A deer cull was carried out in Dublin's Phoenix Park yesterday, following an order by the Office of Public Works.

A total of 34 deer were shot dead in what the OPW called its "sustainable management of the wild deer herd".

The OPW explained that an overabundant deer population can lead to an increase in road traffic accidents in the Phoenix Park as well as the spread of diseases.

The cull has been criticised by animal rights activists and those who claim it's just a money-making exercise, as the deer are being sold to restaurants around the country.

John Carmody of the Animal Rights Action Network says the images that have emerged of the deer being killed are "quite disturbing", and that this is not about conservation.

"I would appeal to the Office of Public Works to come up with a better solution than this."

"Whether you agree with eating animals or not, it's horrifying to see marksmen out with their guns taking down these beautiful animals that bring so much joy and beauty to the park."

JP McMahon, Michelin starred chef and restaurant owner in Galway, says deer is on the menu in all of his restaurants and that meat eaters who are upset about the culling have a "contradictory point of view".

"Whether we cull them or whether nature culls them, it's the same issue. I think we're being selective on the animals we care about and the animals we don't care about."

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