FoA and GooseWatch NYC to Protest Canada geese slaughter in NYC
Urges Mayor De Blasio & Port Authority to Stop the War on Wildlife
Friends of Animals (FoA), GooseWatch NYC, and New Yorkers will protest the slaughter of Canada geese in NYC parks outside the headquarters of the Port Authority of New York on Thursday, June 26 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The headquarters are located at 225 Park Ave. South, between 18th and 19th St.
For the sixth summer, USDA Wildlife Service agents, via The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, have begun entering NYC parks throughout the five boroughs in the early morning hours to trap and kill Canada geese and their goslings. Witnesses spotted agents conducting a roundup of geese early this morning in Inwood Hill Park in upper Manhattan.
Before they suffer a slow, painful death by gassing, the geese are stuffed into crates and loaded onto trucks. The goose slaughter is set to continue during the next few weeks while Canada geese are molting their flight feathers and can’t escape the USDA agents.
The NYC Canada Goose Removal Program was created in 2009 by former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, allegedly in response to concerns about aviation safety. The subsequent kill contract with USDA’s Wildlife Services has caused taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and resulted in the slaughter of more than 5,000 geese in parks across New York City and at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
“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,” said Edita Birnkrant, campaigns director of FoA. “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. Mayor De Blasio can cancel the kill contract with the USDA and put a stop to the assault on geese set to occur for the next several weeks.”
De Blasio has strongly expressed his concern for animal rights issues, including pledging to ban horse-drawn carriages and make New York City a more “humane” city for animals. When asked about his position on the goose roundups during a May 6, 2013 Mayoral Candidates’ forum on animal issues hosted by NYCLASS, he stated, "I don't think there was ever an effort to work with other approaches that would have been more humane, to work with experts who could have shown a better approach, and I'm committed to not just rushing in and killing animals when there might be a better way... we have to get every approach on the table and work with the experts.”
For the past two summers, more than 1,000 resident Canada geese were rounded up from New York City’s only bird refuge—Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge—and sent to their death. Currently only a few dozen geese remain at Jamaica Bay, yet outrageously, they too are on this summer’s USDA kill list. It’s clear that the desired number of geese officials want in our parks and NYC’s refuge is zero.
Friends of Animals promotes proven, non-violent strategies for co-existing with the geese we share the landscape with. Killing geese won’t make airplanes safer—but landscape and habitat modification to deter geese from certain areas will. This is documented in FoA’s Canada Goose Habitat Modification Manual. Bird radar technology is currently in use by the US Military and other airports around the world, including Seattle and Israel.
Why are we not using this valuable technology in New York City? Alerting pilots to flocks or birds that could cause a potential hazard to their planes is a common sense response—slaughtering every bird in the sky is not. In March, the New York Post reported that The Port Authority killed 20,000 animals over the past two years, including birds deemed threatened or endangered.
NY state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) said, “I stand with Friends of Animals to say that 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.”
Furthermore, a recent three-part expose published by Thomas Frank in USA Today reveals the true threat the public faces in regards to airplane safety—our own government. The shocking level of disregard the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shows for the public’s safety in regards to air safety comes down to saving money:
"It's absolutely crazy," said retired colonel Dennis Shanahan, an air-safety expert and former commander of the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory. "This is essentially an abrogation of the FAA's responsibilities as a safety agency."
Johanna Clearfield, director of Urban Wildlife Coalition, a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organization, and a DEC licensed rehabilitator, is outraged by the continuing geese slaughter. “I am licensed by the Department of Environmental Conservation to rescue and rehabilitate the same wildlife that the USDA is killing,” he said. “Our own government is killing wildlife while they license people like me to save wildlife. We need a unified vision for wildlife protection.”
1. Call Mayor Bill De Blasio’s office directly at 311 or 212.NEWYORK and ask him to put an immediate end to the slaughter of Canada geese throughout New York City.
2. Contact Patrick J. Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of NY/NJ at 212.435.7271 or firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him to cancel the goose-killing contract with the USDA.
3. New York City residents should contact their NYC Council Member and ask them to take action to stop the Canada Geese killings and speak out to protect our wildlife. Click here to find your Council Member.
4. Attend our protest on Thursday, June 26 from 5:30pm-7pm at the NY Port Authority headquarters at 225 Park Ave. South, between 18th and 19th St.