Saturday, July 31, 2010

Our New War on Canada -- Geese, that is. (Reply)

LA Mahoney writes: It's not just Prospect Park, but here in Westchester County, suddenly all the geese have disappeared in a mass slaughter. It's a horror and a disgrace. Officials now want to expand the massacre to 17 states. I am sickened by my barbaric species. It's so sad to drive along park areas (where people don't even go) and by a pond in an unused part of a Westchester cemetary and it's dead, not one goose or gosling left.

Reply: It is all over as you seemed to have tragically discovered.

These slaughters are complex as they involve many layers of bureaucracy and governmental agencies. USDA usally acts as the "hired guns" entering into paid contracts with various communities and park services to "remove" (in the sense of the Sopranos) Canada Geese.

But, Canada geese are also protected under federal law, specifically the "Migratory Bird Act Treaty."

The problem is there are all kinds of amendments and exceptions to the law.

These amenments can refer to airport safety (Geese can be "taken" at certain times of the year if residing within three miles of an airport.) They can refer to population control issues, "nuisance," health and other issues.

I am not a lawyer, but as I understand the basics of the laws that apply, when "taking out" geese for reasons other than airline safety, it is incumbant upon the planners and doers to show just cause why the geese have to be removed. Environmental Impact Statments also have to be done, as well as notice to the community. In addition, lethal removals are only supposed to occur when non-lethal alternatives have been utilized and proven to have failed.

To my knowledge, none of these things were done at Prospect Park.

The justification for the Prospect Park gassing of up to 400 Canada Geese was claimed to be "airline safety." But, Prospect Park is very far from the "three miles" specified in federal law and according to different accounts, outside the "7-mile" radios deemed by the city of New York to represent a "hazard" to airline safety. As matters appear now, we have been lied to with regard to exactly why the Prospect Park geese were rounded up and gassed.

I can't speak to the community you write of with regard to the justification for (as you claim) rounding up and killing all the geese. If you are not near a major airport, then the measures as cited above should have been implemnted BEFORE any "removals."

It sounds like you need to do some investigation or perhaps ask a local reporter to look into the story.

Because, if the residents of communities where these slaughters are occuring simply throw up their hands and accept the carnage without question, it is to guarantee there will be many more, not just where you live, but everywhere.

The residents near Prospect Park did not just throw up their hands and tacitly accept the massacre without question and protest.

Many have organized against it and have put up a Facebook page specifically to probe and address this issue. In less than a few weeks, it already has generated almost 500 new members.

I urge you to go to this site, sign up and read the many dozens of articles that have been posted to address this NATIONAL issue as well as other information.

I hope that you don't object to me quoting your post on the FB page, though since I do not have your permission to do so, I will not use your name.

Thank you for bringing this to attention, but to be honest, you need to find out a great deal more information. The first place to start perhaps would be to call local officials with jurisdiction over the area to verify if in fact, a "removal" of the geese actually occurred. Some geese seek out special places while they are "molting," but then as soon as their new feathers grow in, they move somewhere else.

Roundups and gassings can only occur while the geese are molting and unable to fly (June through July). But, many geese are already flying now and can technically get away. The official time for roundups and gassings is thus over for this year.

Please share with us any information you are able to confirm and verify. Thanks, again. -- PCA