Officials in Mamaroneck, N.Y., are in hot water over not only plans to cull the village’s resident geese, but for censoring individuals who are speaking up to stop the slaughter.
Residents and animal advocates are urging the village to use humane alternatives to killing for dealing with the geese, and while some on the Board of Trustees are still on the fence, Mayor Norman Rosemblum apparently has his mind made up: The geese have to die.
The village signed a $8,700 contract contract with the USDA’s Wildlife Services to round up the geese beginning this June when they’re molting, or when they have no feathers and can’t fly and are the most vulnerable, because of the belief that their droppings pose a health hazard.
Animal advocates are arguing that culling isn’t just cruel, but that it’s the least effective approach in dealing with geese because new ones will just move in on empty spaces and that a cull will only lead to an annual slaughter.
“USDA agents come into the parks usually early in the morning when it’s dark, and they separate the goslings that were born recently from parents, stuff the geese and babies into crates, stack them into trucks, and drive them to whatever location where they’re going to be gassed or shot,” said Edita Birnkrant, NY Director at Friends of Animals, at a board meeting earlier this month. “They say they’re going to use the meat for a food bank, which is absurd. But that’s the process, and it’s very traumatic, stressful, frightening of course. It’s a very cruel way to kill the geese.”
According to a USDA spokesperson, the geese will be taken to a poultry processing plant where they’ll be slaughtered and processed for human consumption and then donated to any organizations that request the meat.
Goose advocates believe habitat and landscape modification, birth control and other deterrents, such as Goosebusters, will work better as long-term approaches, instead of resorting to mass slaughter, which won’t solve the problem. They also want to know why the village has yet to use its new $29,000 Toro Rake-O-Vac to clean up the goose droppings.
“Hello the answer is staring you in the face: you’ve purchased this large commercial machine that which cleans up the poop very effectively,” said Birnkrant. “They’re not using it. They’re not making any policy to clean up the goose poop. It’s almost laughable – you’re a waterfront village and water fowl are going to be attracted to the area. No matter how many you kill this summer, more will fly in.”
The mayor even proved that last point after telling CBS that the village had geese relocated to South Carolina, but they returned before the truck even got back. No one can seem to figure out exactly how geese who can’t fly made their way home to New York.
Those who have sent emails to voice their opposition are getting them bounced back with the message “banned content.” The block was discovered by resident Gina von Eiff after she sent an email and had it returned. She then had a friend try it, whose message was also sent back, reports the Journal News, which also tried it a few times and got a banned content message.
According to CBS, the village explained that the e-mails are being treated as spam because there are too many coming in from around the world. The decision to block emails was reportedly made by the Village Manager Rich Slingerland, who is now working on blocking only form letters.
Nothing says ‘I don’t care what you think’ quite like turning your constituents and the general public into spammers for voicing their opinions.
While the Mayor doesn’t seem to want to stray from the plan, newly elected members to the Board of Trustees claim that the contract was signed without public knowledge before they took office and some of them are interested in alternatives, including a proposal from wildlife biologist Dr. Steven Garber, which would include a “no nesting” policy for geese; behavioral modification techniques; and scare tactics performed over a period of time to discourage geese from returning to the area,” reports the Larchmont Patch.
“We plan to examine this issue very closely before we come to a final decision on how to proceed,” said board member Bermudez Hallstrom.
In Scarsdale, recent public outcry over slaughtering geese convinced officials to use non-lethal alternatives.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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