Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools Day

April Fools Day.
I wish I could say it is a cruel joke that the city is entering into another 4-year contract with USDA at a cost of $700,000, but it is not. 
This from the NYC Dept of Records yesterday:


- Government to Government - PIN# 82711RR00038 - Due 3-31-2011 AT 11:00 AM

The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) provides this notice of its intent to enter into a government-to-government agreement with USDA for the services of a full-time, dedicated USDA wildlife biologist.   DSNY has determined that it is in the best interest of the City to obtain these services from USDA, the recognized experts in wildlife management at airport facilities, including at LaGuardia and JFK airports, to assist DSNY in the implementation of USDOT/FAA recommendations to ensure the compatibility of the North Shore MTS with safe operations at LaGuardia Airport. Among other things, the USDA wildlife biologist would develop and implement a wildlife hazard management plan for the MTS, monitor and address wildlife activity in the vicinity of the MTS, work with NY area wildlife management working groups and train MTS staff on wildlife management. The estimated amount of the government to government contract is $700,000; the proposed contract term is four years. Qualified vendors that seek to provide such services in connection with a future procurement may contact Bureau Contracting Officer Sarah Dolinar at

Due Date




Intent to Award

Government to Government




(917) 237-5358


51 Chambers Street, Room 806, New York, NY 10007

The above represents very bad news, not only for geese, but other birds and wildlife living anywhere near airports.
It appears that our city has developed a near zero tolerance for Canada geese.
The animals' days in our city parks could well be numbered.
I wish I could say that this dreaded news is surprising, but it is not.
Letters over the past year to city agencies and political leaders on this issue have been met with responses that would chill the soul.
Not that any of the replies indicated outrightly that it was the city's goal to round up and gas virtually every Canada goose within city limits.
Rather, (and actually worse) almost all the letters have been steeped in denials of geese even having being killed at all in NYC.
A good example of this has been recent email exchanges with City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn (one of which was posted on this blog more than a week ago).
At first, Ms. Quinn repeatedly referred to the goose gassings at Prospect Park as "removals."
I wrote her back and inquired, "Removals to where?  Disneyworld?"
Accusing Quinn of covering the issue with euphemisms, she sent me back a personal response two days ago (Emphasis supplied):
Dear Ms. Adjamine,

Thank you for responding to my e-mail about the removal of Canada geese from Prospect Park this past summer. 


I realize how deeply disturbed many people were by the subsequent euthanization of these birds, and I want to assure you that I'm not "sugarcoating" the gravity of this situation in any way.  


The Council and I have worked very hard over the years to help bring about positive changes in the lives of animals here in our city, and we'll continue to treat this and other issues impacting animals and the animal rights community with the attention and seriousness that they deserve.


As I stated in my previous e-mail, I believe it's important for all of the local, state and federal offices involved in this matter to balance the public safety and welfare needs of people and animals.  


The Council and I will continue to do what we responsibly can to help make sure that balance is maintained here in our city.



Chris Quinn



To which I replied back to Ms. Quinn:


Dear Council Speaker Quinn,
Thank you for replying with such expediency to my response of a few day ago, regarding our city's disgraceful round-ups and gassings of more than 2,000 Canada geese last summer.
Unfortunately, with all due respect, we don't seem to be talking about the same incident or issues.
"Euthanization" (literally meaning, "good death") refers to the merciful ending of another's life usually due to extreme pain and/or terminal condition. Euthanization is suppose to be done for the purposes of sparing additional suffering and protracted death.
Surely, you cannot believe, Ms. Quinn, that struggling for every last breath for up to an hour in a gas chamber, while futilely banging feet against walls and organs slowly shutting  down, constitutes a "good death" for any living being -- least of all, waterfowl who can hold their breaths far longer than humans.  (According to Carol Bannerman of USDA, the geese "take anywhere from five minutes to an hour to die in the gas chambers."  She told me this in a telephone conversation 6 months ago.)
Moreover, the 2,000+ geese killed in this hideous and barbaric manner last year, were healthy animals, some of whom were raising baby goslings.
You might consider, Ms. Quinn,  that Canada geese mate for life. Both parents protect nests and eggs and both parents raise the goslings.   Goslings stay with the parents for a full year. Canada geese are among the most devoted, loyal, peaceful and protective animals on earth (Probably the main reason for their high survival rates).  In fact, they would put many human parents to shame.
Entire families of Canada geese have been terrorized and gassed in NYC over the past few years.
It was reported on CNN and other news sources that the United Airways plane that landed in the Hudson on Jan. 15, 2009, (flight 1549) experienced serious engine problems two days before colliding with two migratory geese from Canada and landing in the Hudson.
If you are truly concerned, Ms. Quinn about "passenger safety" on airliners, then you might question why such a mechanically compromised airliner was allowed to fly in the first place on that fateful January day.
Blaming, scapegoating and subjecting thousands of innocent Canada geese (and their babies)  to  painful, protracted and totally unjustifiable death for our own mechanical deficiencies or human errors is unconscionable and certainly not befitting responsible political leaders who might contemplate running for higher office someday.
Once again, though I appreciate your personal and expedient response, Ms. Quinn, it is deeply disappointing and regrettable.
I write you simply to request that you use your power and influence to implore our Mayor to immediately end the goose gassing contract with USDA. -- Gassings that have disgraced New York City in the eyes of the civilized world.
Sadly, your responses to this important ecological and moral issue, Ms. Quinn, leave one with the impression that your understanding and grasp of it is as shallow and deficient as Mayor Bloomberg's.
Patty Adjamine,
Council Speaker Quinn did reply back to this email as well, but she appeared much more guarded this (presumably final) time:

Thanks for your follow-up reply, Ms. Adjamine.  I do understand and appreciate the points that you've made and will certainly keep all of these things in mind as we continue to closely monitor this situation.  Thanks again for your strong and impassioned advocacy on behalf of these birds.



Chris Quinn



And, I replied back one last time to her:


Please be assured, Ms. Quinn, I am not the only one who cares about the geese and wildlife in our city.
Go to any park that has geese on a Saturday afternoon and note the joy on children's faces when seeing the "geesies" in our ponds and lakes.   For many of these children, the animals in our parks are their only connection to nature.
We cannot sacrifice the benefit to children, senior citizens and thousands of other park goers who love seeing wildlife to the paranoia, scapegoating and "passing the buck" attitudes of the FAA.
I may be the only one writing you on this issue, but I speak for many thousands of other New Yorkers who care about our city parks and the protection of the wildlife in them. When civilized and sensitive people learn of the goose gassings, without exception, they are horrified.
In view of the terrible tragedies and accidental environmental destructions associated with oil spills and nuclear meltdowns, that we would deliberately inflict terror and death on thousands of hapless, defenseless birds who have flown skies for thousands of years greatly diminishes us as human beings.
Thanks again, Ms. Quinn for your time and attention to this vital matter.  Again, I implore you to use whatever influence you have to enlighten other policy makers before it is too late to save our very treasured geese.
Entering into killing contracts with USDA for city wildlife is not something that speaks well to the powers that be in our city, of which you are one.
Patty Adjamine
I am posting these email exchanges here not to single out Christine Quinn for particular derision or blame, but as examples of what one can expect when communicating with city agencies and politicians on this issue:
Denials, euphemisms, rationalizations and basic kiss-offs cloaked in assurances they will "keep our views in mind."
Perhaps the real problem is that not enough people have pressured city, state and federal leaders to end these hideous gassing and killing contracts with USDA.
The unfortunate reality is that most people who care about animals are not proactive and political in those convictions.
And, for those who are proactive on animal protective issues, we are spread so thin on so many pressing issues, it is difficult to be organized, focused and effective on any particular one.
Most animal protective efforts are in fact, directed towards saving doomed cats and dogs from shelters and/or trying to persuade a culture ingrained to eating meat to, "go vegan!"
Mass slaughters of wildlife (and marine life) seem to get lost in the shuffle, as well as so many other vital issues from animals tortured in laboratories, to puppy mills, to abuse of geese (and other animals) for down, fur and "fois gras" to abuse of animals for entertainment to the horrors of dog and cock fighting.  
None of these things even takes into account the greatest abuse and slaughter of all:  Animals raised in intensive "animal factories" and slaughtered for meat.
In essence, I am not surprised at all over the city's apparent renewal of the "Wildlife Hazard Management" plan and contract with USDA.
Its just a bit ironic that it occurs one day before "April Fool's Day."
The question is, who are the real fools?  -- PCA

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