Thursday, April 12, 2012
Media Targeting of the Geese -- and Law
Has as been repeatedly reported and evidenced in this blog for the past two years, media coverage on geese tends towards the poorly researched, extremely negative and in some cases, downright hysterical and destructive.
But, now there is a new low in media reporting and coverage: The mocking of actual law.
Falling into all three (and now four) categories, there is this example out of Greensboro, North Carolina today:
While the TV "news" piece is not at all unusual in hysterically depicting geese as "pests" and "people attackers" what sets it apart from the usual hype is its derision of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, citing it as "REALLY old."
The obvious implication is that this vital law is somehow antiquated and should be dumped like an old cell phone or standard TV.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed in 1918 as acknowledgement and response to the fact that the Passenger Pigeon -- a bird that used to exist in the hundreds of millions was hunted to extinction in the beginning of the last century.
The hope and anticipation was that such wanton genocide of wildlife would not occur to another bird species again in the United States.
But, now in the endless and irrational vilification of Canada geese, this vital, protective law is also mocked and (like the geese themselves) vilified in the press.
But, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act does not only protect migratory Canada geese (whose numbers are actually depleted) in the wild, but thousands of other species of birds -- particularly those deemed as "game species" (which unfortunately, geese are).
One has to experience a sense of alarm when realizing media pieces like this.
While not probable that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act would be completely wiped off the law books by Congress, what is likely to happen (and already has) is that various "amendments" can be added that gradually usurp its power and reach, thereby rendering the Act into a much weaker and ineffective law.
Already steps have been taken over the past decade to remove many (if not most) Canada geese from the law's protection. That has occurred by the separating of Canada geese into two classifications: "Resident geese and Migratory geese."
Although exactly the same in gene and species, this bogus distinction in category of Canada geese allows for expanded hunting and governmental roundups and killings of so-called "Resident geese" while still maintaining some semblance of protection (under the law) of migratory geese.
The problem with this of course, is that there is no real way to decipher so-called, "resident" geese from migratory geese when simply looking at a bunch of geese in a park or on a pond.
One can only speculate and guess according to the time of year and observances over time of the birds' behaviors.
The media clip posted above used a cell phone camera video of a gander protecting his mate and nest by attempting to scare off an approaching human to make a case of geese "attacking" humans (the actual headline). This is distortion at best and hysteria at worst. The clip then proceeds to interview only two people, both of whom view geese as "nuisance" and one of whom even chases geese off the water with a small motor boat and a dog. (Should we then wonder why geese flee to nest in nearby business locations?)
The news clip further attempts to make the case of "too many geese" but only can actually show a total of four geese (not counting the two in the cell phone video). It quotes the goose harassing man claiming there are "22 geese" in the area.
Finally, the so-called news "report" derides the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and instructs viewers on how they can legally "get rid of geese."
But, whether there are in fact "22 geese" or only four in Greensboro, North Carolina, the bottom line is that we don't have to wait for USDA trucks to arrive in summer to city parks and other locations to round up and slaughter geese.
The geese (and now the Migratory Bird Treaty Act) are already being derided and destroyed in the media. -- PCA