To the horror of onlookers, a goose that had landed on the sloped conveyor belt of the Congo Rapids ride at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, was killed after being pulled between two belts. At first, ride operators stopped the belt and attempted to scare off the goose which — it must have been disoriented and confused, to say the least — did not move.
Restarting the belt to scare off the goose had no results. So the ride operators left the mechanism on and the bird was pulled between the ride’s two conveyor belts, struggled while people watched and was killed.
As Nicole Cora told the Asbury Park Press, “It was disgusting. Everyone could see it … little children saw.”
Six Flags countered that the ride operator had no alternative but to turn on the emergency stop “which causes all boats to be quickly flushed into the ride reservoir next to the ride, and then guests must be evacuated from the boats by rope.” Turning off the ride would have put those people at risk, Six Flags spokeswoman Kristin Siebeneicher emphasized.
Cora said that she and other riders were contacting the park’s guest relations department and also New Jersey’s animal protection services. She also said she has no plans of ever visiting Six Flags again.
While Six Flags of course has to think of the safety of its guests (its customers), the goose clearly underwent cruel and unnecessary suffering that could have been avoided, by giving the animal more time to move from the conveyor belt.
Part of Six Flags Adventure is Wild Safari, a 350-acre wildlife park that is “home to more than 1,200 exotic animals, including several endangered species.” According to the Guest Code of Conduct, “animals have the right of way” at Wild Safari, though clearly not at the Great Adventures part of the operation.
Canadian geese are not, of course, endangered species. They have made themselves very unpopular in New Jersey as the birds have often seemed to take over the state’s grassy fields and the lawns of suburban, corporate headquarters (some of which conduct animal testing and where animals have died cruel deaths). The geese have also been accused of polluting waterways. But death via double conveyor belt, in front of the eyes of onlookers — a very public display of animal cruelty — was uncalled for and requires that Six Flags review and update its policies about the treatment of animals on its grounds.
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Photo by RHW Photography