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FoA Applauds Another Victory for Mute Swans

June 18, 2014 | Take Action

Mute swans have not yet won the war waged against them by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, but they have won another battle.

The NY State Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill introduced by State Senator Tony Avella (D-queens)—with input from Friends of Animals and ornithologists—that grants the large white birds a two-year reprieve from the DEC’s plan to eradicate them in New York by 2025. 

Now their fate lies in Gov. Cuomo’s hands as the legislation heads to his desk to be signed. 

 “Friends of Animals is extremely excited that Senator Avella’s bill to protect New York mute swans has passed,” said Edita Birnkrant, campaigns director for Friends of Animals. “Our members and supporters rallied relentlessly to stop DEC’s brutal plan to wipe out a beloved species of wildlife. We now strongly urge the governor to pass this bill so that current and future generations of New Yorkers can continue to observe the beauty and grace of these majestic swans.”

The bill, #S6589, also requires DEC to illustrate the necessity of eradicating this non-native species by demonstrating the actual damage to the environment or other species caused by mute swans. In addition the bill requires DEC to hold at least two public hearings and to respond to all public comments before finalizing any management plan for mute swans. DEC would be required to prioritize non-lethal management techniques.

“The facts do not support DEC’s plan to eradicate these beautiful creatures,” Avella said. “With the passage of my bill, I think it is now quite clear that DEC’s careless plan to eradicate the entire mute swan species entailed too many questions and not enough answers. These birds have been around for decades and the population is estimated at only 2200. How can they be a threat to society? This has been a huge issue for the State of New York and I am glad that we will now have the time to properly examine and hopefully change this plan with legal protections that prevent harm to the swans and allow New York residents to live in harmony with these treasured birds.”

Avella filed bill #S6589 Feb. 10. Assembly member Steven Cymbrowitz carried the same-as version of Avella’s legislation in the Assembly, which passed the bill earlier last month.

FoA is asking its supporters to contact Gov. Cuomo and tell him to pass the legislation to save mute swans from eradication.

You may contact the Governor's office by phone (518) 474-8390; mail :The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State, NYS State Capitol Building Albany, NY 12224; or by filling out this form.



Gov. Cuomo,

Please pass the legislation to save mute swans from being eradicated from New York!

Gov. Cuomo,

I'm writing to urge you to sign into law S06589, which would place "a moratorium on the department of environmental conservation's plan to declare mute swans a 'prohibited invasive species.'"

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's plan to "eliminate free-ranging mute swans from New York by 2025" is as barbaric as it is arrogant.

The DEC claims that "mute swans can cause a variety of problems, including aggressive behavior towards people, destruction of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), displacement of native wildlife species, degradation of water quality, and potential hazards to aviation."

Whatever "problems" mute swans have caused (or have the potential to cause) for humans pale in comparison to the problems humans have caused (and will continue to cause) for one another, for other species, and for the environment.

You have before you an opportunity to exercise compassion. Surely, New York's human population is capable of coexisting with 2,200 mute swans.

David Brensilver

please help the swans

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