Gassing animals is not humane and not for the good of the animals.It should not be called euthanasia and it should not be considered any sort of a permanent fix.If New York State goes through with their current plan, the very next flock of geese to fly over will see a suitable vacant spot and New York State will be back at square one, except with a lot on their conscience.
Dear Governor Cuomo and New York State Department of Parks,
As an anthrozoologist and President of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION), a nonprofit human and animal advocacy group serving the residents of Long Island, I am extremely disturbed by the New York State's plan to slaughter their state park resident goose population and have been contacted by many residents who feel the same. Today, I speak on their behalf, as well as the behalf of the geese who cannot speak for themselves.
While the plan to corral and asphyxiate the resident goose population through the use of carbon dioxide poisoning during geese’s most vulnerable time of year is being advertised as “humane,” and being called “euthanasia,” this form of killing is actually prohibited in the State of New York for shelter animals because of its inhumanity. There is nothing humane about corralling innocent geese into crates during a time when they cannot fly away to be led to an excruciating death. This is slaughter, not euthanasia. Please call it as it is.
As for the geese’s innocence, we are also aware that there are rumors of health concerns regarding geese droppings. The public should be assured that according to Tome Baptist, executive director of Audubon Connecticut,"No Scientific study has ever linked goose droppings with infection in human beings.” Dr. Milton Friend, former Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Services’ Wildlife Research Center’s Waterfowl disease division has also said about his work:
"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. We do have a lot of diseases out there that can affect people; most of them come from different places and do not come from the Canada goose, and I’ll leave you with that." (Panel Presentation transcript – 1993)
It certainly important to respond to worried mothers’ about their children’s safety, but let us please assure them with facts, not mindless killing.
Lastly, we are also aware that in addition to using the inaccurate term euthanasia to describe this proposed slaughter, the proposed plan to donate the slaughtered birds to food banks is clearly a misguided one. On average, the USDA donates less than 1 lbs. of goose meat per bird slaughtered while adult geese average 10-15 lbs. Additionally, goose meat is delivered to food banks untested, with a warning not to consume more than twice per month due to its potential harm to one’s health. Geese eat grass laced with pesticides and are exposed to various contaminants such as mercury and lead in their travels so while goose poop may not be dangerous, goose meat certainly is. Giving poisoned food to underserved communities should not lessen public concern. Instead, it should command public outrage.
At a time when so many of our interactions with nature are destructive, we should not be resorting to the slaughter of our wildlife. Instead, we should be exhausting all other options while teaching our children respect and admiration for native and exotic animals alike.
We applaud New York State for attempting some non-lethal methods in the past, however, those options are far from exhausted so we kindly ask the you to reconsider and even work with us on other alternatives if they would like. Naturesweep machines, which turn goose waste into compost, and OvoControl-G, an oral contraceptive specifically made for Canada geese, are two options the Department of Parks certainly should consider, but there are many others as well.
Gassing animals is not humane and not for the good of the animals. It should not be called euthanasia and it should not be considered any sort of a permanent fix. If the Town goes through with their current plan, the very next flock of geese to fly over will see a suitable vacant spot and New York's Department of Parks will be back at square one, except with a lot on their conscience.
Mr. John Di Leonardo
President, Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION)
& All Concerned Animal Advocates