Stop The Senseless, Unnecessary, Ineffective Killing Of Staten Island's Turkeys!
Wild turkeys, long known for their presence in Staten Island, have been rounded up by USDA Wildlife Services and slaughtered. The contract between USDA Wildlife Services and South Beach Psychiatric Center cost taxpayers $16,000 to kill approximately 120 turkeys, but nothing has been accomplished! Dozens if not hundreds of turkeys still roam the area.
This is a story GooseWatch NYC knows too well. Brooklyn residents were shocked in 2010 when more than 300 geese were rounded up in Prospect Park by USDA Wildlife Services, and here again the public is outraged over the cruel and unwarranted slaughter of Staten Island's wild turkeys.
We are urging South Beach Psychiatric Center not to enter into another contract with USDA Wildlife Services, and begin a dialogue with the community and animal advocacy groups to implement ways to diffuse the situation without killing any more turkeys.
The situation has been allowed to aggravate for the past decade, and while there isn't an overnight solution, preventing people from feeding these birds, and curbing the growth of their population by oiling eggs have not even been given a chance. With the help of a generous donation from Wendy Neu, HSUS's Brian Shapiro negotiated the relocation of 28 turkeys to Catskill Animal Sanctuary where they will live out their lives, demonstrating that we are willing to go to great lengths to work out a solution.
The DEC has been privately discussing how to address complaints about the turkeys for years. In this time, have alternative strategies been pursued? How many eggs have been oiled to prevent more turkeys from hatching? How many signs have been posted educating people not to feed the turkeys? Maybe the turkeys can be relocated elsewhere on Staten Island or to other sanctuaries. We hope that some actions are taken before another contract is taken out to slaughter these turkeys. There's no doubt the slaughters could have been avoided, and still can be.
Assembly Member Malliotakis and other elected officials have sent letters trying to get the South Beach Psychiatric Center and the University Hospital to discuss some of these options. However, to our knowledge their office has yet to receive any response.
With millions of people living where wildlife once thrived, some conflict is inevitable. Here we've only see two responses from the government: ignore the problem and hope it goes away, or kill the animals. More options should be on the table, and more time should be allowed for their success.
Spring is upon us and will (hopefully) be here soon - it's past time for the DEC and South Beach Psychiatric Center to take meaningful action, before more turkeys are slaughtered.