New York State Senate
I was dismayed by the manner in which these majestic creatures were slaughtered. I am upset further by the absence of any notice to residents; I am aware that numerous individuals visit the park to watch and feed the geese, and that many were alarmed by the absence of these beautiful birds. I am convinced that a more humane method might have been used to control the goose population. The operation was conducted under the auspices of the United States Department of Agriculture, and I would urge any individual who was distressed to write both to them and to his/her federal representatives...Our animal population must not die needlessly, and inhumanely, to suit the needs of humans. Link.
New York State Assembly
Thank you for sharing with me a copy of the petition addressed to Senator Gillibrand concerning the eradication of geese and other birds at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. I agree with you that other non-lethal methods should be used to address the problems of birds near airports to avoid the wholesale slaughter of animals in protected areas.
Statement provided in a constituent letter.
New York City Council
I strongly opposed the killing of 400 Canada geese in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in 2010, and I oppose the USDA’s plan to kill Canada geese at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and other New York City parks. Geese are part of the natural habitat of many City parks, where they live permanently. To disrupt the local eco-system and wipe out these animals is unwarranted.
Statement provided by email.
New York City Council
The killing of Prospect Park’s entire population of Canada geese in the middle of the night—without any public notice or input whatsoever—strikes the heart of our community’s connection to the natural world. The Park is where we first introduce our children to nature and wildlife, and where we continue to enjoy nature’s gifts throughout our lives; like many others, I found it difficult and painful to explain to my kids what had happened to the geese that they used to chase and study in awe.
The decision-making process that led to the killing of the Canadian geese was deeply flawed. The Humane Society and other organizations had presented humane and effective options to control the goose population in the City. Sadly, those responsible for the massacre did not explore these alternatives.
Henry Stern, President
New York Civic, Former New York City Parks Commissioner
The January 2009 collision with Captain Sullenberger's airplane was said to have been caused by migratory geese, not their cousins who amuse Brooklynites at Prospect Park. We think that in cases of capital punishment, the burden of proof is on the executioners. Of course, if human life is actually threatened by the geese, we side with our own species. But we are aware that government programs, once under way, are difficult to limit or restrain, unless there is a powerful lobby representing the other side. In this case, there is no economic interest in the survival of Canada geese, and there is no spokesgoose to represent them.
Mary E. Brosnahan, Executive Director
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 which poor men, women and children will eat unregulated and insufficiently inspected flesh. (Statement provided by email.)
We believe that there are many non-lethal methods available to repel the geese from areas in which they are not wanted and we urge both local and state officials to utilize these methods immediately. As has been our experience so often over the past fifteen years, when responsible people gather to examine complex problems, solutions that are both compassionate and cost-effective can be forged. Our paramount fear, as the proposed slaughter date approaches, is that innocent, wild animals will be needlessly killed and that poor New Yorkers will be injured in the aftermath. (1997 Statement)
Ida Sanoff, Chairperson
Natural Resources Protective Association
Environmentalists know the golden rule of ecosystems: if one species is removed, another species will take over. Permitting the destruction and removal of birds from a Wildlife Sanctuary is absolutely despicable and sets a frightening precedent. (Read more).
It is not ethical to kill wild birds merely because their mess bothers us or we find them a nuisance, and it’s not necessary to kill geese to resolve conflicts. (Read more)
“Conflicts with wildlife can be effectively resolved using humane, long-term and noncontroversial solutions, and should not result in a death sentence for the animals,” said Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The HSUS. “This indiscriminate slaughter of wildlife is inhumane, ineffective and not supported by science. It is the wrong way to address the goose population, especially when more humane and scientific solutions exist.” (Read more)
Edita Birnkrant, New York Director
We strongly oppose Senator Gillibrand's misguided efforts to open up a NYC wildlife sanctuary to this slaughter. Air safety will only be improved by focusing on deterring geese and other birds from airports through habitat modification, effective land-use planning and radar detection, not by killing birds.
Friends of Animals recommends non-violent means to reduce the flocks of geese when necessary, including habitat modification, and developing technology to protect planes from bird strikes. Without habitat modification, the area will continue to attract geese
Stephanie Boyles, Wildlife Biologist
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Roundups cause immeasurable stress—separating lifetime mates from each other and from their young goslings.
Effective, humane methods of waterfowl control do not target the animals themselves but rather the things that attract them to certain areas. Methods such as population stabilization, site aversion, public education, and other deterrents can be used to control waterfowl populations humanely. (Read more.)
NYC Audubon believes that lethal control should be the last resort after all other methods for managing bird populations have been exhausted. The blanket approach of lethal control will not significantly reduce the risk birds pose to aviation safety. We maintain that City officials should reduce the amount of lush, green lawn space available throughout the city, which attracts geese. Without such measures, new geese will take up residence here and populations will quickly rebound to current levels. The City may also limit growth of the resident geese population through egg-addling or nest destruction. (Read more.)
We need organization, information and communication to succeed. Your efforts are excellent in accomplishing this.
Jeffrey Starin, Licensed Pilot
By lowering the altitude that aircraft fly over densely populated urban centers, we have encroached upon the habitats of winged wildlife. As a result of the FAA's bone-headed decision permitting approaches to airports at lower altitudes over densely populated urban areas across the U.S. without conducting the necessary and legal environmental studies, safety has been diminished, not increased.
While concerns about air safety are of course understandable, the reality is that neither Sen. Gillibrand nor Mayor Bloomberg are addressing the real issues causing airplane accidents, and those have nothing to do with birds. Permitting the destruction and removal of birds from a wildlife sanctuary is absolutely despicable and sets a frightening precedent.