Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fuzzy Math and Double-Talk

In probably one of the very worst examples of "gobblety gook" double-talk ever seen, is this press release from the Department of Environmental Protection issued last June announcing the 2011 goose roundups:
Although claiming the Canada goose population to be "significantly down" -- as much as 80% near LaGuardia Airport and at least 50% in other areas of the city, the document nevertheless still claims a population of "20,000 - 25,000" geese in the NYC Metropolitan area -- the same figure that the USDA and other agencies have been quoting for the last four years.
One has to wonder why the media never questioned this?
If all the goose roundups, gassings and slaughters are so "successful," and the goose population is "significantly down -- at least 50%"  how could we still have the same exact number of geese in NYC?
Something is just not computing.
Personally speaking, I have little doubt as to the "success" of the goose roundups and slaughters.
Certainly, it helps explain why virtually no new geese flew into Harlem Meer over the past six weeks following the summer molts as had been typical in recent years.
The goose slaughters, as well as the harassment conducted on the birds at Central Park has resulted in the resident goose population in CP being virtually wiped out.
And yet, despite all this, Central Park still defends its "management program" for the geese and all the other agencies still defend goose roundups and slaughters!
It doesn't take a fortune teller to predict that were the entire NYC population of resident geese to become extinct, the agencies would still be claiming a "20,000-25,000"  resident Canada goose population in NYC  in order to justify killing any that might wander into the city. That number appears to be etched in stone.
Another disturbing part of this press release is this:
  "Following the surveys, USDA will remove Canada geese from areas where large populations of Canada geese are encountered during the molting season from the middle of June through the middle of July." 
Unfortunately, the DEP fails to define exactly what "large populations of Canada geese" actually are.
And we have seen from past USDA "Goose Removal Reports" that geese have been rounded up from areas with as few as seven geese.
Less than 20 geese have been "removed" from several other sites.
Apparently, 7 geese represents a "large population."
Of course ANY goose near an airport is considered one too many ("zero tolerance") and is likely to be shot.
Although this press release was issued this past June, this is the first time I recall seeing the actual document.
Though there were a  number of articles (especially in the NY Times) announcing the roundups in June, the pieces mostly put a positive spin on the press release.   "The geese to be donated to a Pennsylvania food bank!" 
Of course, "donating the geese to food banks" was also done in Madison, Wisconsin, this year -- after the doomed geese were turned into "gooseburgers," that is.
But, apparently now, Madison is dealing with an E-Coli outbreak:
Of course a connection or conclusion cannot be proven between the slaughtered geese and the disease outbreak a couple of months later, (since so many animals are made into "burgers"), but it does seem to be a bit of a coincidence. 
The bottom line to all this however, is the lack of question from the media.
For a "press release" the above document did not rouse even one meaningful question from the media.
Such as, "How can we still have 20,000- 25,000 geese in NYC when thousands have been killed in past few years and you claim the population is down by 50%?"
I am no math wiz, but those figures just don't add up.
"Fuzzy math" and double-talk is seemingly alive and well in NYC -- especially when it comes to the much beleaguered and maligned Canada geese.  -- PCA

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