URGENT: Stop Islip School District from Massacring Wild Geese and their Babies!

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URGENT: Stop Islip School District from Massacring Wild Geese and their Babies!

This petition made change with 3,440 supporters!
Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION) started this petition to Superintendent Dennis O'Hara and

Islip School District is planning to teach our children all the wrong lessons by hiring the USDA to massacre countless Canada geese and their babies as soon as next week (the week of July 4th) at Islip High School, a school bordering an inlet of the Great South Bay, a natural home to Canada geese. According to a whistleblower, the district has been wasting taxpayer money to quietly round up and kill mother geese and their babies year after year, despite rounding up and gassing birds being notoriously cruel and ineffective, resulting in a cruel and endless cycle of animal cruelty. 

USDA Wildlife Services, is a for-profit federal agency that has been called agriculture’s most misnamed agency by the New York Times and harshly criticized for wanton and reckless massacres of animals both nationally and right here on Long Island, including just last year when they "accidentally" killed 86 geese in Baldwin.

Killing unwanted geese requires rounding up and slaughtering mothers and babies during molting season—when the birds lose their flight feathers and are most helpless. Trappers set up portable pens, bait the geese, and herd the defenseless animals inside. Geese will then be grabbed by the legs or wings and thrown into crates and loaded onto trucks. 

Many are sent to slaughterhouses to be killed. These geese will be transported long distances in trucks rife with loud noises and vibrations and in close proximity to their captors. With no means of escape, the terror experienced by these sensitive prey animals will be unimaginable. 

Other birds, who are sometimes sedated but not retrieved, may be left to drown. If not slaughtered or drowned, geese are killed by lethal gas—often in chambers on the back of trucks brought directly to the roundup site. Geese are loaded into the chamber one at a time until several are inside. Witnesses can hear the geese banging and thumping trying to escape. When the chamber is full, the geese are gassed and dumped in trash bags to make room for more birds. This is not euthanasia. This is excruciating. 

The USDA often tries to distract from the cruelty of killing our native wildlife by saying that they will donate the geese meat to those in poverty, however, what they don't tell you is that donations of geese meat are actually opposed by the Executive Director of the NYC Coalition for the Homeless and the Executive Director of Long Island’s Community Solidarity on the grounds that the meat comes with a label that cautions not to eat more than once a month due its contaminants. In Westchester, this warning came along with a second: that the meat might contain bird-shot—a type of shotgun shell. Whitewashing animal cruelty by poisoning those in poverty is not charity. 

People who want to remove geese often want to because of the misconception that geese or their droppings are a health hazard. However, no study links Canada geese to any infectious disease that is transmittable to humans or domestic animals. Dr. Milton Friend, former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Research Center said about geese feces: “On occasion we have been wading in that stuff, dead birds up to our elbows. There is not a single documented case of any of us coming down with any kind of a disease problem as a result of Canada geese. We do not have a human health situation, not in the urban goose, not in the wild goose, not in the captive geese that we have also worked with.” Epidemiologist David Stallknecht, co-author of a Center for Disease Control study on waterfowl droppings wrote, “Goose feces are no more dangerous than other feces, and probably a lot less so than human feces.” Additionally, geese do not significantly increase the levels of harmful bacteria in ponds and reservoirs. Instead, studies show that pollution from human waste and agricultural runoff can expose both geese and humans to bacterial contamination. The best protective measures include addressing poor water circulation, sediment buildup, over-fertilization, and other environmental factors and employing common sense when around potentially contaminated areas.

If someone does want to manage geese populations, round-ups are still not the answer. Not only are roundups cruel, but they're ineffective. After a massacre the resultant spike in the food supply prompts accelerated breeding among survivors and inevitable newcomers, with geese populations then increasing, which is why the district has been wasting taxpayer money to kill geese year after year. 

Canada geese are an integral part of Long Island's wildlife and we have an obligation to use the most effective, humane methods available if their presence must be reduced. Through a comprehensive program of habitat modification that reduces opportunities for feeding and nesting and lessens an area’s attractiveness to geese, coupled with harassment techniques, it is possible to achieve this goal both in the short and long terms. Public education and egg-oiling programs can further reduce the size of goose populations without resorting to lethal programs that cause suffering to the geese and polarize otherwise harmonious areas. With a little planning and commitment, humans and geese can both benefit from an integrated, humane goose population-control program—if their management is deemed necessary at all.

Please urge the Islip School District Board of Education and its new Superintendent Dennis O'Hara to cancel its cruel plan to massacre innumerable Canada geese and their babies and teach its students how to coexist with Long Island's native wildlife! Mr. O'Hara just started his new position last week and there is no reason he needs to share in the transgressions of the old administration! 

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