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751 Geese Slaughtered in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge-Ordered by Senator Gillibrand

July 16, 2012 | Geese / Press Releases / Hunting & Wildlife Management / Take Action

For Immediate Release

Contact: Edita Birnkrant, NY Director, Friends of Animals 917.940.2725;

New Yorkers Protest at Gillibrand's Office Door, July 17

When: Tuesday, July 17, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Where: 780 3rd Avenue, between 49th & 49th Streets-Senator Gillibrand's Office

New York-Friends of Animals condemns the mass slaughter of Canada geese and the destruction of a wildlife sanctuary orchestrated by Senator Gillibrand at Jamaica Bay Wildlife refuge. New York City's only federal bird sanctuary, it is home to hundreds of native animals. New Yorkers will bring their outrage to Senator Gillibrand's office door on Tuesday, July 17th, from 12:30pm-1:30pm at 780 3rd Avenue between 48th and 49th Streets in a large and loud rally.

USDA's Wildlife Service agents entered the Refuge in the late morning of July 9, rounded up, stuffed into crates, loaded unto trucks and then killed 751 Canada geese and goslings, a disgraceful scheme devised by Senator Gillibrand's shocking, wrong-headed attack on native birds and a refuge.

"Senator Gillibrand turned Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge into a killing zone, as geese were rounded up, stuffed into crates, and slaughtered while they were molting and unable to fly," said Edita Birnkrant, NY Director of Friends of Animals.

Senator Gillibrand slipped grotesque wildlife killing legislation in May into the 2012 Farm Bill which passed the Agriculture Committee, and is pushing to kill even more geese at the Refuge.

Gillibrand' nonsensical justification for opening up a refuge to a goose slaughter is to protect air safety-a myth debunked by Friends of Animals, aviation experts, and others.

"More geese will fly in to replace the ones killed at the refuge. This entire bloody scheme is a waste of money and resources," said Birnkrant. "Senator Gillibrand's reputation is tarnished by this action-many New Yorkers are outraged and angry at the senator for bringing violence and death to our nature sanctuary."

Marcus Pierno, NYC resident, photographer, and regular visitor to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge said, "The highlights of my visits to Jamaica Bay were observing the Canada geese and their goslings, photographing them and watching their close emotional and family connections."

"My visits to the refuge will never be the same again because so many of these geese that I've spent time enjoying have been killed," said Pierno.

"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, and not by killing Canada geese or any other birds that planes share the skies with," said Edita Birnkrant, NY Director of Friends of Animals.

"Simple solutions such as allowing grass around runways and airport property to grow several inches higher instead of mowing it can keep away flocks of geese and other birds that would otherwise be drawn to the short, mowed lawns," Birnkrant adds.

Gillibrand's targeting of Canada geese ignores the fact that New York City is actually creating the situations that attract birds to airports, say Friends of Animals. Mayor Bloomberg and the FAA approved the creation of a massive garbage transfer facility to be built next to airport runways-practically guaranteeing birds attracted to those areas.

"Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Gillibrand may care about air safety yet they're ignoring the obvious-that killing birds drawn to a refuge while attracting birds to use the grounds around airports won't make plane travel safer," Birnkrant says. "Geese are not going to be eradicated from the skies," Birnkrant added.

Birnkrant has also offered the Facebook site to answer questions and help the public attend the rally.

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Friends of Animals, an international animal protection organization founded in 1957, advocates for the rights of animals to live free, on their own terms.


I have been traumatized and brokenhearted by the massacre of gentle Canada geese at the "Refuge". I went to say good bye to them shortly before their disappearance. It was a lovely day, and they were so happy and relaxed. I had been lied to by employees who said that some of the geese would not be killed but next time I went there only three feathers and the footsteps from their walks back and forth from the lake to bay area remained. Two visitors told me that they had seen several geese further on, near the highway. I saw four of them walking deep into the woods; I followed them until they went as far as they could and then all stood together. I contacted several people who I thought might find someone to rescue them, and next time I went there they were gone. I believe that they were probably shot, and I will never go there again. This is awful for me because I do not have a car and the "Refuge" was easy for me to get to by bus. I had sent Gillibrand a Certified, Receipt Requested letter because someone told me that politicians "have to" read them, which is not true. All I got was a form letter with the subject matter filled in. This insipid, bland looking woman is an NRA member, so what can you expect and the indifferent, callous attitude of the Refuge employees with whom I spoke was just as bad.

These geese were causing terrible accidents involving planes. The jet that landed in the Hudson a couple of years ago had a complete mechanical shut down because of the geese. Which is more important -- human lives or geese? Think it through before you get all self-righteous. FoA comments: The quality of human life is not improved by killing others -- there is plenty evidence of that. However, there isn't any evidence that killing "these geese" would have prevented the Hudson River crash or any future air crashes. Unless the law of gravity is repealed, flying will always be risky -- but as we know, bird/plane crashes are not a major risk -- pilot error and faulty equipment are and both are under direct human control.

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