Sunday, March 27, 2011

One Step in a Journey of a Thousand Miles

Photos:  Banded geese at Prospect Park, Senator Eric Adams imploring justice for Canada geese to crowd at Hands Around Lake event Saturday.)
Yesterday (Saturday) was both, exhilarating and dispiriting.  
It was encouraging from the standpoint of the more than 130 people and children who attended yesterday's "Hands Around the Lake" event at Prospect Park to support and protect New York City's Canada geese.  (This, on a chilly day when the temperatures remained in the high 30's.) 
There were in fact, far more humans in Prospect Park to support the geese than actual Canada geese to be seen and supported. 
(Personally, I saw only about 20 geese swimming around the Prospect Park lake, though the claim is that there are approximately, 180. -- A claim that becomes more dubious with what other goose observers have regularly reported since the July 8th  goose gassings of last summer.) 
Speeches from Senator Eric Adams, Edita Birnkrant of Friends of Animals, Mary-Beth Purdy, event organizer, a young child and others were short, passionate and inspiring.
And even the two banded Canada geese at Prospect Park came out to lend their presence and ask for protection. 
(In fact, one of the geese might actually have been begging for the tight yellow ID band around her neck to be removed.  The constricting band surely cannot be comfortable for an animal that normally curves, turns and bends the neck -- especially to eat and watch for predators.)
Nevertheless, despite the encouraging crowd and actual positive event,  the day is once again shrouded in both, shallow major media coverage as well as the way some of our city leaders continue to deny and treat this issue with euphemisms.
Although some members of the press attended and reported on the event, most coverage ends up getting negated with crass comments at the end, either about "goose poop" or "flight 1549 that landed in the Hudson" a couple of years ago after colliding with two Canada geese. 
It is difficult to get media to question or focus on WHY that particular airliner landed in trouble when many millions of airliners safely take off and land every year.
Very rarely is it reported that the US Airways aircraft had engine problems on a previous flight and had to emergency land.  
 It appears to be so much easier to blame the geese and put out the argument that all the geese should be destroyed for so-called, "airline safety."
Of course one wonders how killing thousands of Canada geese in NYC "protects" airline passengers from things like mechanical deficiencies, human error, terror attacks,  pilot fatigue, traffic controllers falling asleep on the job or bad weather.
But, supposedly, killing geese makes people feel good that "something is being done" to address airline safety issues, when the reality is far different.
We are simply killing a lot of geese.
Still, for whatever reason, any positive support for Canada geese seems to get either very short and shallow shrift from major press or in most cases, none at all.
But, if media is generally dismissive of pleas to save the geese, (with the notable exceptions of The Brooklyn Paper and Prospect Park Patch it is nothing compared to some of our politicians.  (Read actual articles here:
Last night, when coming online, I received a condescening form email response from Christine Quinn,  Speaker of the City Council (Emphasis supplied):

Dear Ms. Adjamine


Thank you for sharing your concerns about the removal of Canada Geese from Prospect Park this past summer.


As the owner of two rescued dogs whom I love very dearly, I can certainly understand why this situation has upset many people, and I appreciate you calling for more humane solutions to this matter.


As you may know, the removal of these geese involved all levels of government, including federal, state and multiple local agencies, and I believe it's important that we strike the proper balance between human air passenger safety and animal rights.  


I have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of your letter to the staff of the Council's Health and Transportation Committees so that they are fully aware of the concerns you have raised about the removal of these geese.  Please be assured that we will continue to keep a close eye on this situation. 


Thanks again for sharing your concerns with me.  Your advocacy on behalf of these and other animals is greatly appreciated.



Christine C. Quinn


Not only does Ms. Quinn fail to address the questions raised in my response to her, but she sends out the very same dismissive letter sent several months ago. -- the one that repeatedly and euphemistically refers to the goose gassings as "removals."  (Removals to where, I ask.  "Disneyworld?")
Meanwhile, google Canada geese "news" and there is not a day that goes by when one does not find numerous national  articles decrying the geese as "flying pests" that need to be "gotten rid of."
For example, this gem yesterday from the Ohio Dispatch.  It is hard to know which is worse.  The article itself or the comments that follow it:
As Edita Birnkrant of Friends of Animals says, between the harassment, egg destruction and actual cullings, it seems we are looking to "empty" our parks, cities and perhaps entire country of all Canada geese.  (Well, except for those who can serve as hunting "targets.")
These animals quite literally have no place to go where they can live in any kind of peace, harmony or acceptance.
All the more reason to fight for justice for them. 
Yesterday was simply a small step on a journey of a thousands miles. -- PCA

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