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Stop Killing Your Geese – Freeze Tax-Funded USDA Contract, Don't Renew

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Update from 7/3/12 Ocean County Freeholders Meeting:

Freeholder Bartlett announced the USDA has stated the goose populations are down to a level where they will not need to and will not kill any more geese in the spring. Bartlett said the methods the county had been using had worked. Those, of course, include USDA roundups and slaughter. 

He said the county would look into the non-lethal methods that we presented again today in our meeting with the Parks & Recreation Department prior to today's freeholders meeting. 

Bartlett said in future the county would continue to use methods it feels best to use.

 He also said that in the last 11 years, the county had addled [at their taxpayers' expense] 1,309 eggs. We will continue to urge the freeholders to implement volunteer egg addling, relieving the taxpayer and hopefully increasing the number of eggs addled each year.

We know that Ocean County can unfreeze this contract at any moment, and, of course, can always make new contracts. 

We really appreciate everyone's dedication to the geese. We are making a difference.

It seems like we got some good news, but we must remember, despite media reports, no statement was made guaranteeing killings in 2012 have ended.

We hope our efforts, including the updated petition (below and click "Petition Letter" tab above), its signers, and its spreaders, helped influence this decision.

About this Petition -- [Updated]

We continue to work to ensure Ocean County does not unfreeze its current contract with the USDA to use lethal methods for managing geese. We also continue to work to ensure they don't make new contracts.

The USDA's lethal methods, unjustified and unapologetically cruel, are also laughably ineffective and not-so-laughingly costly to goose, taxpayer, and County alike.

For tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, the USDA grants geese gassing deaths that can see them writhing in agony for 40 minutes – deaths that take longer than it takes for new geese to swoop in and take over their homestead, deaths that take with them more.

Money-wise –  Since 2008, the County has given USDA, APHIS and Wildlife Services more than $60,000 to gas our geese. One 2012 contract takes $22,317 out of taxpayers' pockets. 

And for what?

Bound & Strangled

This: the method the USDA uses more than any other. The USDA Wildlife Services (WS) rounds up the geese when they have no chance to escape.

Long flights put strain on their feathers, and each June and July, their molting season, adult geese have to molt out the old, worn feathers and grow new ones. So—they can’t fly. And their goslings: too young to.

Sitting geese.

After binding their feet with plastic zip-ties, the WS uses carbon dioxide, their standard gas, to suffocate them.

An especially cruel death, carbon dioxide asphyxiation slowly strangles geese anguishing as they struggle to breathe.

This gassing method is particularly inhumane because geese have the capability to hold their breath for long periods, like when diving for food. So, they suffer longer than most animals exposed to this method of oxygen deprivation.

They suffer, in part, due to misled citizens misled to feed greed. They suffer while several readily-available non- lethal, more effective, and cost-effective methods exist (For quick info on some, just see the links below)

Last year, Ocean County and the WS killed at least 178 geese in County parks.

Their Federal Fish and Wildlife permit can be unfrozen, and can also be renewed in future. 

In 2008, they killed 488 geese and their goslings.

Flawed & Costly

Some believe geese are a health hazard and say kill. Some better-versed say otherwise. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), for one, states, “Scientific studies do not show that goose droppings pose any special health threats. Obviously, people want to avoid contact with any animal droppings. Ordinary good hygiene, such as washing hands and leaving shoes at the door, are adequate prevention if you accidentally contact animal droppings.”

Like the HSUS, the CDC says geese droppings pose no special health risks. If you come in contact with a dropping, they recommend you do the same thing you do every time you eat, what we’ve all been taught – what we all know: wash your hands.

Gassing geese isn’t prevention. It’s shortsighted and ineffective, a square peg in a round hole that costs the taxpayers the money they’ve worked to earn, and the positive PR the County’s chosen to actively snuff out.

The Chicken & The Egg

County Freeholder John Bartlett: “We spend millions of dollars to build and maintain parks. We aren’t going to spend millions of dollars for an invasive species. They weren’t here 20 years ago.”

Similarly, Mr. Bartlett and our fellow Man – and those parks – haven’t always been here. So, per his logic, we all get the gas, too.

And, ironically, to remove the geese, Mr. Bartlett is more than willing to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars – thousands and thousands more than it would cost for a non-lethal method that is actually a long-term solution.

Wrong & Rightable

Gassing cats and dogs in NJ: illegal.

Gassing wildlife: perfectly legal.

Hardly conscionable. Perfectly changeable.

So, change it.

Whether it’s funded with taxpayer money, private, or otherwise, there’s no place for it – now, in future—ever.

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Humane Solutions

Geesebusters | Naturesweep | GeesePeace | Native Return and FlightTurf | Canada Geese New Jersey | Wild Neighbors : The Human Society of the United States | Canada Geese Tips : The Humane Society of the United States | Human-Wildlife Conflict Prevention : Animal Alliance of Canada 


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