Tuesday, April 5, 2011


It means to pre-judge.  It is a truly ugly word because of the tyranny and injustice it is associated with over the centuries.
But, prejudice isn't only restricted to human-to-human situations.
More often it is applied to animals.
We tend to either hate, fear, abuse or exploit what we don't truly know and what we "prejudge."
Yesterday, I wrote about some of the major misperceptions and false allegations against Canada geese.
Most of the charges are based upon extremely shallow observation and prejudice of these animals without any attempt to really understand and learn about them.
It is like saying all Irish people are "drunks" or all Italians are "fiery tempered" based upon limited and preconceived notions of a few.  (I'm Irish and drink very rarely.)
Around the time I became interested in Canada geese and mallards, I went into several book stores to try and find information on the birds' behavior, personality and life patterns.
But, virtually every book I found had little information on these matters and instead were more like guides for hunters.
Available "information" on Canada geese (and mallards for that matter) was thus, either severely lacking or set on ways to blow them out of the skies.
That is when I decided to closely study and observe the birds for myself.
What does one learn over a few years of closely observing Canada geese?
Well, for one thing, it is fairly easy to enter their world, as Canada geese are among the most open, social and trusting birds with people.
One learns Canada geese are endlessly fascinating animals who have a deep depth of communication with each other, are extremely devoted and "romantic" mates, exemplary parents and they are peaceful and generally welcoming of other birds. 
Geese are highly organized and intelligent animals and they have a complex and rarely varying social order. 
If, for example,  a gaggle of geese are grazing on grass, at least one or two ganders  take "sentry" positions to watch out for any threats to the flock.  If threat of a storm suddenly pops up or there are any predators around, the sentry geese send out loud "alarm" honks. Other geese reply in kind and within minutes, the geese take off in highly organized flight, almost like planes taking off from a runway.  First, one group, then another, then another.  Unless the threat is very immediate and severe, most groups of geese taking off consist of about 8 to 15 birds to a flock, (most likely, families) flying in their famous "V" formation.
When parent geese are raising goslings, one of the parent birds takes the "sentry" position in the evenings, usually standing a few feet away from the rest of the sleeping family and keeping careful and constant vigilance.  Though it is usually the gander on sentry duty, sometimes the parents switch positions and the mother goose briefly takes over, presumably to give the gander some time to rest.
Goslings stay with the parents for a full year or until the next breeding season starts.  At that time, though the parents may push the juveniles away, the family will still stay in the same general location and have regular communication with each other. The parents are highly respected and never have to deal with "rebellion" or challenge from their goslings. The goose social order and hierarchy is to be highly organized, cooperative and traditional. It rarely varies.
And those are just a few things, I have learned in a few years of observing Canada geese.
Nevertheless, in learning the little I know about these magnificent creatures, it pains me greatly to read of the ghastly and untrue accusations against them, as well as the harassment and massacres that have been perpetrated on their species.  Allegations, one can only surmise are derived from ignorance, brainwashing and prejudice about Canada geese and are used primarily to justify the slaughter of them.
Prejudice is truly an ugly word. 
One that too often results in abuse, exploitation, misinformation, misunderstanding, enslavement or even genocide.
It was, after all, a type of "genocide" that occurred on the morning of July 8th in Prospect Park when a team of USDA workers (or "hired thugs" as I call them) secretly entered the park, corralled 368 Canada geese and their baby goslings, (flightless then due to either molting or youth) bound their feet with plastic ties, stuffed them into crates and trucked them to Kennedy Airport for gassing.
These were not "wildlife biologists" conducting the clandestine roundups as has been claimed in some newspapers, nor were there veterinarians overseeing the roundups and gassings of an entire goose population (and bloodline) in the park.
According to USDA spokeswoman, Carol Bannerman, the geese "take anywhere from five minutes up to an hour to die in the gas chambers."  Imagine the terror and agony of taking up to an hour to die while having the air slowly sucked out of one's lungs and one's organs shutting down.  Imagine the horror to parent geese who were unable to protect their young. Imagine the betrayal by human hands to birds who have learned so to trust people.
We can accurately say there was absolutely nothing "humane" about the goose gassings, nor could they be termed "euthanasia" which has also been wrongly claimed in several newspaper articles and by numerous city officials.
The first casualties of clandestine roundups and gassings (or, really, our "war" on wildlife) is the truth. 
Ah, prejudice, such an ugly word.
God forbid humans really get to know and learn the truth about Canada geese. -- PCA

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