The Facts About NYC's Annual Canada Goose Slaughter
Last summer, USDA Wildlife Services killed 290 Canada geese living in New York City's parks and on average the city paid $144 per goose killed. The total cost to NYC taxpayers for USDA's services between 2009 and 2014 will be $308,582. Thus far, 3,776 geese in public parks have been killed, as well as 751 geese rounded up from Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in July 2012.
In past years, geese were gassed and dumped in landfills, USDA now trucks the birds alive to remote commercial processing facilities and foists the tainted meat to food banks, in an attempt to spin the killing as a charity act.
Meanwhile, serious threats to aviation safety are ignored as the city proceeds with construction of the Marine Waste Transfer stations, and local airports fail to implement radar technology and other meaningful long term solutions.
For the past four summers New York City has contracted with USDA Wildlife Services to lethally remove geese from public parks. On July 8, 2010, the residents of the Prospect Park area in Brooklyn, NY awoke to find the park's otherwise boisterous lake almost entirely devoid of waterfowl. This summer, that scene will replay itself as New Yorkers across the five boroughs discover that geese have disappeared from nearby parks and at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. The City claims its intention is to reduce the threat to air safety, however, instituted without public input or approval this policy has been met with opposition from aviation experts and policy leaders, and has sparked outrage from New Yorkers who care about animals, parks and urban wildlife, and transparency in government.
According to officials, the geese are "euthanized" -- a term that is understood to refer to gentle assisted death in circumstances of terminal injury or illness, and refuted by veterinarians in connection with goose roundups. "Carbon dioxide asphyxiation used by the USDA is an especially cruel process that slowly strangles geese as they struggle to breathe and compete for oxygen," said John G. Hynes, DVM, USDA Accredited Veterinarian. Slaughtering and butchering geese is never euthanasia, by definition. USDA biologists claim scientific justifications for killing geese while soliciting kill contracts with municipalities across the country. This is a blatant conflict of interest, and USDA biologists can hardly be seen as credible. Canada geese have become a scapegoat and a cash cow for USDA Wildlife Services, the federal agency collecting millions of dollars each year for their extermination services. Photos of last summer's massive removal operation at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge were published and made available to the public for the first time.
The meat from slaughtered geese is delivered to food banks with a warning label from the Health Department that it should not be consumed more than twice per month because it may have been exposed to environmental contaminants. Eating goose meat can be extremely harmful to one's health. Wild urban geese travel to many different locations, are exposed to various toxins including mercury and lead, and pesticides. Yet the meat is not tested and no effort is made by officials to determine if it is dangerous. Mary E. Brosnahan, Executive Director for Coalition for the Homeless said, "The Coalition objects, in the strongest possible terms, to the plans by officials to slaughter hundreds of New York City's Canada geese, and to the use of homeless New Yorkers to achieve that end. The plan to feed homeless people the potentially tainted carcasses of these birds through a local soup kitchen or food bank sets a dangerous double standard." In 2011 the USDA donated only 474 lbs. of goose meat, less than one pound per goose, and it
This is horrific activity! it should be stopped and the geese allowed to live.
I meant to say it is a horrific activity. Sometimes I type fast.
this world has gone to hell
It sure has, Janet.