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Arby's Sparks Controversy With Venison Sandwiches (Photo)

Arby's sparked controversy after the fast-food chain announced it will be selling sandwiches containing venison.

The chain said it will be selling the deer meat sandwiches from Oct. 31 to Nov. 28 in six states where deer hunting is popular, KARE reports. The item will be available only for a few days and in select restaurants.

The states are Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

"[The idea] is probably the biggest stretch for us yet," admits Arby's Chief Marketing Officer Rob Lynch, but adds that the meat is "incredibly delicious."

"Bringing venison to our menu also allows us to continue to set ourselves apart from the competition when it comes to proteins," he added, USA Today reports. "You simply can’t find this at other restaurant chains."

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Reactions to the new sandwich, which has a venison steak topped with onion rings, have been mixed.

Many expressed excitement over the new menu item.

"May need to book a reservation on open table for this menu debut," one man wrote on KARE's Facebook page.

Others were disgusted at the idea.

"I don't believe in the slaughter of deer," wrote another user on KARE's Facebook page.

"No more Arby's for me, Ever," chimed in another.

Some disapproved for other reasons.

"I personally will not support this," wrote one user from Wisconsin. "The farm raised deer and elk they will be using for this is where Chronic Wasting Disease originated from. CWD has destroyed the deer herd in my home state."

Other users disagreed, adding it's a good thing to hunt and eat deer given that -- in most of these areas -- they are "everywhere."

"In every other state they are [akin] to large rats," responded one user. "Everywhere and wreck everything."

Others agreed.

"I don't understand why venison isn't on more restaurants," added another man. "We have deer everywhere."

While it is true deer won't soon become extinct in these six states, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says the logic is flawed.

"Hunting creates the ideal conditions for overpopulation," PETA explains. "After hunting season, the abrupt drop in population leads to less competition among survivors, resulting in a higher birth rate."

Instead, PETA says, people should just let the deer die naturally if they want to reduce the population.

"Starvation and disease are unfortunate, but they are nature’s way of ensuring that the strong survive," the group adds. "Natural predators help keep prey species strong by killing the only ones they can catch -- the sick and weak."

Sources: KARE, USA Today, Facebook/KAREPETA / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, Arby's via KARE

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