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Cheers and Jeers

June 20, 2014 | Cheers and Jeers

FoA, Sen. Avella express outrage of killing of mute swan parents

Jeers to the NY Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens and the three DEC workers who slaughtered two mute swan parents on Black River Bay in upstate New York June 17. Typically a quiet neighborhood, it was shattered by gunfire and death, and residents are not happy about it. 

And neither are Friends of Animals (FoA) or state Sen. Tony Avella. This latest attack by the DEC comes the day before the NY State Senate unanimously passed a bill introduced by Avella (D-Queens)—with input from FoA 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. The bill is on its way to Gov. Cuom’s desk. 

“This act illustrates the brutality and viciousness of the DEC… purposely killing the swan parents and leaving four babies orphaned and vulnerable,” said Edita Birnkrant, campaigns director at Friends of Animals. “FOA would like these three DEC employees fired for their vicious shooting of two swan parents and we call on Gov. Cuomo to also fire the DEC Commissioner for allowing this kind of retaliatory behavior towards swans while knowing a bill to protect them was being passed. The DEC is out of control, and thinks they can get away with wanton killing of swans even as a bill to stop their outrageous behavior has passed in the Assembly and Senate. Friends of Animals calls on the governor to sign the swan protection bill into law and to punish the DEC for this most recent attack on swans.”

Avella has written a letter to Commissioner Martens, and has also weighed in in this joint statement with FoA. “As the state Senate was passing legislation to halt the DEC’s senseless plan to eradicate all wild mute swans in the state by 2025 and declare them a ‘prohibited species,’ we learn that three DEC agents decided to go on a killing spree of these majestic birds in an unmarked boat,” Avella said. “To say that this was a horrific and inhumane incident is an understatement. We are left in absolute shock that these killings occurred in front of families enjoying their day near the Black River Bay.  The brutality and viciousness of DEC purposely killing these swans, which happened to be swan parents with now orphaned babies, is deplorable. The fact that these killings were carried out after DEC agreed to revise their ‘eradication plan’ and present it for another public hearing, is even more shameful and most definitely warrants an immediate investigation. 

“We are calling on DEC to immediately explain their vicious shooting of two mute swan parents and we call on Governor Cuomo to immediately sign the moratorium legislation into law, so that events like these do not occur in the future.”

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.



Jeers to North Carolina legislators who legalized opossum cruelty for entertainment.

Calley Gerber of the News & Observer reports that “over the past few weeks, in a stunning display of legislative efficiency and bipartisanship that Washington lawmakers can only dream of, both houses of the N.C. General Assembly worked together to rush through what was apparently the most pressing issue of this legislative session: the legalization of cruelty to opossums.”

So now opossums in Clay County can be abused between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, for the sole purpose of allowing Opossum Drop organizers to dangle a terrified opossum above a crowd of rowdy revelers on New Year’s Eve, something prohibited under law and for good reason, Gerber says. “It is inappropriate to torment wildlife for fun.”

Friends of Animals couldn’t agree more. This reminds us of the disgusting “Squirrel Slam” that takes place in Holley, N.Y., which involves killing squirrels for money and prizes. 

The article also states that Opossum Drop event sponsor and state Rep. Roger West proposed the legislation. In an admission that the Opossum Drop always has been illegal, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission ran to the legislature to help it avoid doing the right thing, Gerber writes. Enter HB 1131, which legalizes cruelty to North Carolina’s official state marsupial, as long as it takes place in Clay County during the week of New Year’s Eve.

FoA is happy to see that a Stop the Possum Drop Facebook page has been started. People can sign a petition to stop the event. They can also call or write to event organizer Clay Logan and tell him they don’t want to ring in the New Year by participating in animal abuse. Phone: 828.837.3797. 


We encourage our North Carolina supporters to contact their state district representatives and North Carolina senators and let them know that you are unhappy with their vote if they were in favor of this bill.




This is so barbaric and sadistic. Hard to believe anyone would support it, much less do it.

This is so barbaric and sadistic that it is hard to believe anyone would support it, much less do it.

Animal cruelty and exploitation are evil. We must stop the North Carolina "Possum Drop" once and for all. Please sign the following petition and share it with your family and friends:

Just signed the opossum petition. Thank you for letting me know about it.

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