Controversial plans issued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to kill thousands of mute swans have animal advocates objecting.
The state wants to reduce the current population of approximately 15,500 birds to less than 2,000 by 2030 through the use of egg and nest destruction, or by shooting them in the head. The DNR is justifying its plans by claiming that the non-native mute swans are causing problems with aggression towards humans, that they’re eating too much and that they’re pushing out native birds, such as trumpeter swans.
One resident, Karen Stamper, the deputy treasurer for southeast Michigan’s Commerce Township, points out that they’ve been around since the 1800s and believes the DNR is blowing things out of proportion without any evidence. She also thinks money may be a motivating factor.
The idea that they are destroying the mute swans (to save) the trumpeter swan is absurd, she said. (Mute swans) are a trophy bird for hunters and will bring in a hefty license fee once established.
Stamper wants residents to be allowed to decide what happens to the swans in a state election. Since she began speaking out about the issue the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has also gotten involved to push for a humane alternative.
“Mute swans have certainly been here long enough to be considered good neighbors and treasured natural resources, and they ought to be managed as we manage other treasured resources,” said Dr. John Grandy, senior vice president for wildlife and habitat protection for the HSUS and HSI. “Trying to vilify an animal as beautiful and majestic as the mute swan is a travesty.”
The DNR, with support and funding from the USDA, still argues that the population needs to be brought down significantly and that won’t happen without killing them and wants private citizens to get permits to help them out.
Opponents have met with the DNR have and other officials to get a moratorium on the killing, arguing that the current plans are one-sided.
Officials in West Bloomfield, which recently passed a resolution to remove swans, now want it rescinded because they were not made aware that the swans would be killed and believe there’s more to it than what the DNR is telling people.
Please sign the petition asking the DNR to utilize alternative methods, such as discouraging nesting near lakes, instead of resorting to slaughter.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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