Supporters & Allies

New York Public Officials 

Eliot Engel, US Congressman (NY)

"I believe that the welfare of innocent creatures should be a high priority, and the excessive killing of animals needs to stop. As a member of the House Animal Protection Caucus, I am deeply concerned about the welfare of animals, such as the Canada goose. The unnecessary killing of animals must be avoided. Failing to do so would be both cruel and avoidable."

Tony Avella, NY State Senator

"The City must promote non-violent methods to ensure that we co-exist with these birds rather than slaughter them. It is our responsibility to ensure aviation safety while advocating for humane treatment of New York’s Canada geese population."

Linda B. Rosenthal, NY State Assembly Member

"The indiscriminate killing of wildlife is cruel and inhumane.  Humane methods of wildlife control that are also effective at protecting public safety exist, and it is critical that we employ those alternatives.  I commend the efforts of GooseWatch NYC to educate the public and policymakers about humane wildlife control methods, and I support its vision for a more wildlife-friendly New York." 

 

Steven Cymbrowitz, NY State Assembly Member

"There is no hard and clear evidence that mute swans are the kind of dangerous and damaging presence that DEC suggests. As far as my constituents are concerned, they’re beautiful birds and the official policy should be ‘live and let live.’ Murder is not the answer. Legislatively, through a plan, we can save the swans."

Nicole Malliotakis, NY State Assembly Member

"Many residents love the turkeys and they don't want them to be slaughtered ... There have been numerous ideas for humanely removing the birds, including offers to care for them at privately owned farms, yet the DEC refused to explore all options ... and failed to notify local elected officials and the community that they had granted a permit to the federal government to conduct this operation, despite past promises that decisions won't be made without a public discussion."

Leticia James, NYC Public Advocate

"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."

Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President

"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."

Helen Rosenthal, NYC Council Member

"With aviation experts now joining grassroots activists in speaking out against the killing of geese in New York City’s parks, especially with recent round-ups near and around Riverside Park and along the Hudson River, public awareness is growing for a more humane strategy moving forward. Canada geese are part of our city’s urban habitat, and the approach being taken to remove them is wrong, especially when more effective and compassionate options are available. New Yorkers love, appreciate, and respect our city's great urban wildlife, a habitat we should be protecting, not exterminating. "

Daniel Dromm, NYC Council Member

"Ensuring the humane treatment of animals in New York City is a serious concern to me and one of my top priorities as a legislator. As an educator, I firmly believe that we must instill a respect for animals at an early age, and I have been working to improve humane education in public schools. I’ve been disheartened to learn about the different ways that wild animals in New York City have suffered as a result of ill-considered wildlife management policies, and I believe there is a clear need for increased awareness and education about co-existing with wildlife in our densely urban environment." 

 

"Even while concerns about aviation safety protection are paramount, thousands of birds and other animals have been killed over the past several years, not only in areas near our airports, but miles away. However, this approach has not resulted in any meaningful improvement for the flying public, and I would like to see non-lethal alternative methods implemented that can protect people and wildlife. I commend GooseWatch NYC for bringing transparency and public attention to these important issues affecting wildlife in NYC. I am grateful for your advocacy on behalf of voiceless animals, I am committed to working to ensure that our city’s animals are better protected, and I look forward to supporting your efforts in the future."

Stephen Levin, NYC Council Member

"We wanted to create a task force that can look at wildlife issues comprehensively and have input from wildlife experts, community members and animal rights activists, in order to avoid what happened in 2010. We thought that was not an appropriate way to address the wildlife populations in New York City. Many of us were pretty outraged about how [that] was handled. We want to avoid that. "

Carlos Menchaca, NYC Council Member

"They often say you should stop and smell the roses, but I say you should always stop and marvel at the wildlife that exists in this concrete jungle and how we are already co-existing. Our main job as humans is to make it easier, for geese, for wild turkeys, for oyster beds and beyond. That's going to be my commitment. We can do it together, no matter where who you are, what language you speak or where you live."

Brad Lander, NYC Council Member

"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. "

Alan Maisel, NYC Council Member

"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."

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New York Public Figures

Zephyr Teachout, Law Professor and Candidate for NY Governor

"New York should be a national leader on animal protection issues. We must not continue using tax dollars to use lethal methods of eradicating wildlife, and we cannot condone killing as a first option – if it is an option at all. We must value and protect New York's wildlife, and we cannot allow indiscriminate and ineffective killing of nuisance wildlife, particularly not until the Department of Environmental Conservation has exhausted non-lethal solutions to resolving these issues. We must particularly focus on the safety of birds, thousands of which are killed each year by the Port Authority in a failed effort to reduce the risk of bird strikes. The Port Authority needs to increase its focus on long-term non-lethal alternatives such as implementing radar technologies."

Henry Stern, Former NYC 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."

Mitchel Cohen, Brooklyn Greens/Greens Party

"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."

Yetta Kurland, Civil Rights Attorney

"Too often animal welfare is overlooked in New York City politics, and that's certainly been the case with Canada geese living in our city's parks and along our rivers. Air safety is a serious issue, and we need to find practical long term solutions to this problem that don’t include killing our wildlife. The current approach is not only inhumane but it doesn’t solve the problem. I look forward to working with GooseWatch NYC to finding a humane and effective plan for air safety and protection of our Canada geese. "

John Mancuso, Local Community Leader

"I am a proud supporter of preserving our wildlife here in New York City. GooseWatch NYC has been doing a great job protecting our feathered friends from turkeys to geese. We need more animal advocates in government to battle the slaughter of innocent animals. From sprinklers in pet stores to eliminating kill shelters I will continue to work to protect all animals. I am happy to stand by GooseWatch NYC and look forward to continuing our relationship in the preservation of wildlife."

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Advocacy Organizations

NYCLASS

Allie Feldman, Executive Director

"We fully support GooseWatch NYC's efforts to end the killing of New York City's geese and other wildlife. The lethal methods employed by the USDA to reduce geese populations, which includes the use of live traps and carbon dioxide asphyxiation, have been recognized as inhumane by a number of avian experts and may not comport with guidelines set forth by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Lethal methods of bird control are opposed by many New Yorkers who are concerned about wildlife and the environment. The Program disrupts the balance of nature and deprives the public an oasis in the parks that allows a connection with limited wildlife."

The Humane Society of the United States

"This slaughter of the geese from Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is inhumane and ineffective. It is also not supported by science ... 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 ... Conflicts with wildlife can be effectively resolved using humane, long-term and non-controversial solutions, and should not result in a death sentence for the animals... It is the wrong way to address the goose population, especially when more humane and scientific solutions exist." 

Friends of LaGuardia Airport

Ken Paskar, President

"There is a way to reduce bird strikes in our area without culling geese... Leading bird strike experts agree that culling geese is nothing more than a band aid approach to solving a very complicated problem. This is a major public safety issue that demands a comprehensive solution that protects the airways above New York City. The consensus among bird experts is that a critical component to preventing bird strikes is stopping the construction of the garbage station near LaGuardia Airport. The experts and the data do not support the killing of Canada geese as a solution to our area bird strike problems. Friends of La Guardia Airport’s first priority is safety, and we oppose the slaughtering of Canada geese in the name of air safety, because the real threat to air travel does not come from the geese, but from the City of New York."

NYC Bar Assocation

"The City Bar recommends the City terminate its current contract between the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the USDA for the lethal removal of Canada geese (the Program) and instead adopt non-lethal, long-term strategies for preventing collisions between aircraft and birds ("bird strikes"). There is growing agreement among aviation experts and biologists that killing geese and other birds has no long-term impact in reducing the risk of bird strikes and may exacerbate existing threats by creating vacant desirable habitat thereby inviting other birds... The process is inhumane... The Mayor should end the Program."

Friends of Animals

Edita Birnkrant, New York Director

“We are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Port Authority of NJ & NJ to put an immediate end to the killing of NYC’s Canada geese population in our parks and Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. New Yorkers and tourists don’t want to visit empty lakes and parks—so many residents visit parks specifically to observe and commune with nature and the wildlife who live there ... 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."

Coalition for the Homeless

Mary E. Brosnahan, President and CEO

"The Coalition objects, in the strongest possible terms, to the plans by officials to slaughter hundreds of NYC'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. 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."

Mayor's Alliance for NYC Animals (with NYCLASS, and the ASPCA)

"We recommend that the City cancel the contract with the USDA and adopt non-lethal, long-term strategies for preventing collisions between aircraft and birds. The current program is ineffective in preventing birdstrikes, inhumane, and opposed by many New Yorkers who are concerned about wildlife and the environment. Instead of the ineffective and inhumane method currently in use, we ask the City to adopt one or more of the following proven and humane methods of controlling geese and urban wildlife populations."

Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION)

John Di Leonardo MS, Anthrozoology and President

"I am extremely disturbed by the government's slaughter of geese in New York City, Long Island, and beyond. There is nothing humane about corralling innocent geese into crates during a time when they cannot fly away to be led to an excruciating death. This is slaughter, not euthanasia. At a time when so many of our interactions with nature are destructive, we should not be resorting to the slaughter of our wildlife. Instead, we should be exhausting all other options while teaching our children respect and admiration for native and exotic animals alike. LION is a proud partner of GooseWatch NYC on this and other issues affecting wildlife, our environment, and the humane treatment of animals."

Wildlife Watch, Inc.

Wildlife Watch applauds the successful outreach efforts of GooseWatchNYC regarding the wildlife of NY, especially its waterfowl. Without the strong public outcry to save Canada geese and mute swans that was generated by GooseWatch NYC’s many petitions and direct actions, we’ve no doubt that the outcome would have been far worse for the animals. GooseWatch NYC’s relentless efforts are leading to a public awareness of the heavy hand of wildlife management, exposing their hidden goals and demonic activities. All of that will, we trust, bring us to a new day in wildlife management goals: wildlife watching rather than wildlife killing.

Natural Resources Protective Association

Ida Sanoff, Chairperson

"Jamaica Bay is supposed to be a wildlife sanctuary, not a death camp for birds and mammals .... 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." 

FIDO in Prospect Park

Anthony Chiappelloni, Past President

"FIDO challenges any reasonable person to justify the after mid-night round-up and slaughter of non-migratory resident flight-less geese, including entire families, and their goslings (babies), that for generations and decades peacefully resided in Prospect Park ... FIDO calls for accountability by requesting that those that gave their permission to the USDA, to publicly step-up and “own-up” to what they did, to explain why they did what they did, to understand what went wrong and to express regret, remorse. If there is no regret by those who engineered and participated in this mass slaughter; if there is no concern by those who did it -- if they are “willing executioners”-- then they are absolutely incompetent, unqualified, ill-suited to be stewards or protectors of our parks, especially Prospect Park."

P.E.T.A.

Stephanie Boyles, Wildlife Biologist

"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."

In Defense of Animals

Anja Heister, Director of Wild and Free Habitats Campaign

"IDA fervently believes any problems arising from geese can be handled peacefully and without causing harm ... The City needs a comprehensive plan that encompasses dissuasive methods that keep birds out of the path of planes and detection methods to keep planes out of the path of birds. Clearly, killing geese and other birds is the wrong way to go." 

Prospect Park Quiet Skies

Jeffrey Starin, President and Principal

"The FAA lowered the aircraft approach corridors into La Guardia, thereby invading Prospect Park's wildlife sanctuary. Even though the geese in Prospect Park were not migratory, the FAA in concert with the Bloomberg Administration and the Department of Agriculture deemed them a threat and gassed them to death. That, despite the fact that these animals were outside the so called "7-mile kill zone" established by the Department of Agriculture ... 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."

W.I.L.D. for Prospect Park

Mary Beth Artz

"Our aim is to learn to peacefully co-exist with our wildlife, not abolish it ... We fully support the mission of GooseWatch NYC to connect caring citizens from around NYC who refuse to stand back and watch their parks and green spaces turned into killing fields. We have a right to transparency, to witness what our hard earned tax dollars are funding and we have the right to voice our opposition to the continued unnecessary slaughter of innocent wildlife."

Animal Aid UK

Kate Fowler, Head of Campaigns

"The mass killing of geese in NY is wholly unjustifiable, and we applaud the compassionate efforts made by GooseWatch on behalf of the birds. Myths and rumours about potentially negative impacts of the geese spring up, and authorities feel pressured into 'doing something'. However, if that 'something' is both inhumane and ineffective, then money and birds' lives are wasted. There are non-lethal options available, and scientists continue to speak out on these alternatives to killing. I sincerely hope they will be heard. Here in the UK, we worked alongside wildlife experts to stop the mass cull of Canada Geese at a popular tourist spot in the Lake District. As a result, a thousand lives were spared."

ASPCA

"The ASPCA strongly recommends a combination of non-lethal alternatives in order to prevent circumstances that call for the elimination of large populations of Canada geese."

Catskill Animal Sanctuary

Kathy Stevens, Founder and Executive Director

"Why is GooseWatch NYC important? They seek truth behind mass slaughters of resident and visiting wildlife, they forge coalitions of advocates and politicians to implement humane alternatives to "population control," and most importantly, they speak to the very best in us -- that pure place in each of us which knows that the Earth is here for all of us, regardless of species."

Empty Cages Collective

Jessica Zafonte, Director

"It has always been the view of Empty Cages Collective that animals deserve to be recognized as fellow sentient beings worthy of respectful and compassionate treatment. We have aligned ourselves with GooseWatch NYC and their mission to protect New York City's geese, as these birds are individuals who value their lives and families, and there is never any justification in taking everything that they have away. GooseWatch serves as a valuable liaison between all parties involved with this issue- those involved with government and policy, those concerned with animal rights, the media, and those who simply want NYC's parks to remain a home for wildlife. Canada geese honk, but GooseWatch performs the indispensable task of translating their calls into a language that everyone can understand."

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

Jenny Brown, Director

"As people who have also also built an organization from the ground up, we know just how tough it is—and how every obstacle takes tens times as long as one would think to solve.  It takes passion, dedication, wisdom, and creativity to make the efforts successful, and we have watched GooseWatch NYC blossom on all fronts and make a huge impact on a largely unnoticed issue.  We’re so proud of them and look forward to seeing what they are able to accomplish in the coming years."

Regal Swan Foundation

Shelia Bolin, CEO/President

"We are fully behind GooseWatch NYC's efforts to stop the taxpayer funded killing of wildlife.  There are other effective methods for wildlife management other than killing to increase the coffers of the NY Department of Environmental Conservation and the USDA Wildlife Services. Both of these entities thrive on killing so they can have municipalities (ultimately taxpayers) pay for capture and killing of wildlife. They are also double dipping because they get hunting permit revenues for killing the same wildlife across the state."

Good Shepherd Foundation

Sydney Ross Singer

"I applaud GooseWatchNYC for its efforts to find a peaceful and ethical solution to these conflicts. Non-violent solutions should be the goal of resolving human conflicts, and should be the goal of resolving wildlife conflicts, too ... These species, once widely valued and appreciated, have become persona non grata, labeled "invasive" and regarded as harmful to "native" species, and targetted for eradication. Once they are labeled "invasive" all their environmental and aesthetic benefits are ignored, and a case is trumped up against them to justify their slaughter."

New York City Audubon

(Public Statement)

"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. NYC Audubon also takes issue with the target population size identified by the Department of Agriculture, which calls for reducing the number of Canada geese in the city by 80 percent. This figure is not supported by sound scientific research."

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