Canada geese are beautiful, intelligent birds who mate for life, fiercely protect their eggs and young, and display loyalty for other members of their flock. The methods that USDA Wildlife Services uses to kill geese are controversial and widely understood to be grossly inhumane - during the hottest months of the year flightless geese and goslings are corralled, packed into turkey crates and transported to slaughterhouses or gas chambers.
Some claim that killing geese prevents bird strikes, but leading bird strike scientists disagree. “I have not seen where [culling] has been effective as a long-term solution," said Jim Hall, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board under the Clinton administration. Ron Merritt, a biologist and former Chief for the Air Force’s Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard Team agrees, adding, “Killing 1,000 geese really isn't going to do anything. If you kill them, nature will fill that vacuum and a new species will pop up in its place."
The meat from slaughtered geese is delivered to food banks with a warning label from the Health Department that it should not be consumed more than twice per month because it may have been exposed to environmental contaminants. Eating goose meat can be extremely harmful to one's health.
There is no scientific basis that geese dropping pose a threat to human health. Killing the geese is counter to public opinion, not how the residents of Cornwall want tax dollars spent, and a horrid example for children to whom we teach tolerance and co-existence with wildlife.
Killing the geese is not an effective solution, and will only clear the area temporarily as other geese will repopulate the vacant desirable habitat. A long term strategy is required to resolve the conflict.
This unfortunate plan can be avoided by making a commitment of simple steps, such as cleaning up the grass with machines that pick up goose droppings, and making landscape modifications which hamper access to the pond and prevent geese from colonizing the pond’s surrounding area. Migratory geese will leave the area on their own in the spring, local populations that remain through the summer can effectively be controlled.