Govs. Cuomo and Murphy: Rescind the Port Authority Kill Contract with Wildlife Services
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On June 18, 2018, before the horrified eyes of human families, USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services massacred a family of Mute Swans (shown above) swimming peacefully on Oneida Lake (https://www.newyorkupstate.com/outdoors/2018/06/killing_most_fowl_shooting_drowning_of_beloved_oneida_lake_mute_swan_family.html). The agents shot the parent swans to death in front of their babies and then—according to a document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act—removed the cygnets from the public eye and broke their necks (the technical term for which is "cervical dislocation"). The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation was by law forbidden from killing the swans because the Avella/Cymbrowitz moratorium on killing Mute Swans in New York State, which Governor Cuomo signed into law November of 2016, was still in place, so it hired a federal agency to carry out the crime. There'd been a complaint of aggression by one person. There was no investigation—even though the agents would have had to know that the only time Mute Swans are aggressive toward humans is when they fear for their babies.
Are federal agencies allowed to ride roughshod over state laws? Does that not make a mockery of law itself? What emboldened Wildlife Services?
The same year that Governor Cuomo signed the Mute Swan Bill into law prohibiting the killing of the swans (2016), he and the New Jersey governor of that time, Chris Christie, oversaw the signing of the Port Authority's kill contract with Wildlife Services (2016-2021) which agrees to the killing of Canada Geese primarily, though also Mute Swans and other wild creatures, within a specified radius of New York and New Jersey airports, on grounds of air safety concerns (https://corpinfo.panynj.gov/documents/18235-C/). At Oneida Lake, Wildlife Services agents, who should have been charged with murder, animal cruelty, psychological torture, and conspiracy, killed with impunity.
Wildlife Services kills millions of animals annually throughout the country, often using sadistic methods. The agents use poisoned gas, for example, on the Canada Geese of New Jersey (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8TodTMIW2w), a monstrously cruel practice that only one New Jersey town was able to stop temporarily, though activists in New York stopped it completely in New York State. Animal rights and environmental groups sue Wildlife Services regularly, yet the killing does not cease. Wildlife Services claims that Mute Swans are a threat to air safety. Yet according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s data that is patently false (https://wildlife.faa.gov/downloads/wildlife-strike-report-1990-2013-usda-faa.pdf ... Table17, pages 39-40). Within 24 years Mute Swans collided only 8 times with planes and caused zero property damage—as compared with Tundra Swans—mercifully not persecuted—who collided 12 times with planes during that same time period and caused over $470,000 in property damage. Trumpeter Swans, also mercifully not persecuted, collided twice with planes though caused over $1,000,000 in damage. (See also https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zPGMdw9b0zOVQ-T8uulLMlk7xFbkQv2K/view.)
Nor do the written justifications of Wildlife Services for killing Canada Geese justify anything (https://drive.google.com/file/d/16mNYepvEFdo8GxHU1e1TziFhURWOQ4Kr/view?usp=sharing). Yet Wildlife Services states in at least one Environmental Impact Statement its intention to expand its annual New York and New Jersey goose culls to include more and more wild creatures.
We, the undersigned, therefore urge Governors Cuomo and Murphy to rescind the New York/New Jersey Port Authority kill contract with Wildlife Services.
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