Killing New York’s mute swans and other wildlife is wrong – it is cruel, and not how New Yorkers want our taxpayer dollars spent. The rationales used to support killing these animals are deeply flawed. New Yorkers value our wildlife, and cherish the free-living animals we share our environment with. We believe these creatures should be protected, not slaughtered.
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The DEC recently released its proposed ten-year management plan for the Mute Swan in New York state. This outline for management seeks complete and total decimation of the species by the year 2025.
One of the reasons the agency gives for this policy proposal is the Mute Swans “exhibiting aggressive behavior towards people.” Swan attacks resulting in serious injury to humans are so rare and near physically impossible that the government insults the public's intelligence by presenting this as a major justification for extermination. If you approach a swan nest they might get aggressive and hiss and flap their wings to protect their young, or approach if you have food, but this is a greatly exaggerated threat. the DEC is using to try and spin public opinion against swans, and wildlife in general.
The agency gives further justification for eradication by stating that the “mute swan is a non-native, invasive species brought to North America from Eurasia for ornamental purposes in the late 1800s.” According to the NYSDEC, the state’s population of Mute Swans peaked at more than 2,800 birds in 2002 and is currently estimated at about 2,200 swans statewide, at a relatively stable population. By way of comparison, the DEC states that in Long Island alone there are tens of thousands of wintering waterfowl. Of course, millions of human beings live in New York and our impact on the environment dwarfs the harm that wildlife may cause.
What does it say about our "environmental conservation" priorities when we know that the highest threats to water quality comes from human activities such as agriculture, extraction, and industrial practices, but the DEC chooses to target wildlife?
The DEC's wrongheaded plan to eliminate New York’s mute swans - it is cruel, and not how New Yorkers want our taxpayer dollars spent.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's draft Management Plan for Mute Swans in New York State is available on the DEC website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7076.html
Comments on the draft mute swan plan may be submitted in writing through Feb. 21, 2014 to: NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Swan Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (type "Swan Plan" in the subject line).