Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The NYC Geese who lay the Golden Eggs

Yesterday, in effort to try and find out which city parks may have signed on to or been targeted for USDA Canada goose roundups set to begin later this month, I made numerous calls to Park Commissioners ' offices and other city and park officials.
But, it appears most of the people spoken with knew less about proposed goose roundups than I did.  None could tell me which parks were targeted or when.  One spokesperson, in effort to be helpful told me these decisions were made by the numerous agencies involved along with the Mayor's backing.  "Individual park leaderships don't have much say in the matter and in fact, have little input."  
The woman added and recommended that in order to find this information out, one should "consult a lawyer or file a Freedom of Information Request."
This seems odd and in sharp contrast to the stipulations of the recent SEIS that stress the importance of "public notification."
But, apparently what is spelled out in document and paper is quite different from real life where one seemingly needs to hire a lawyer or file FOIRs to find out what should be public information.
The reality is that none of the parks that have been subjected to and parcel to goose roundups in the past provided any "Community Notification" to their residents prior to goose massacres.
When asked about this, USDA usual response is that it is the "Park's responsibility to do community notice."  But, when speaking with park administrators and leaders, their typical response is that they have little notice, knowledge and input into proposed roundups and are virtually powerless to stop them.
This seems another situation of "pass the buck" with the geese becoming ultimate victims and the public being denied its "right to know" -- until after the slaughters have occurred.
USDA's typical excuse for not following the protocols from their own EIS and announcing where and when goose roundups will occur is that they don't want protesters showing up to roundups and "disturbing" the activities or "stressing" the geese -- as if geese aren't stressed from the trauma of roundups, cramming into trucks and being transported to slaughter.
It is perhaps no small irony that the same lead agency that prepares the EIS is the same one contracted and paid to conduct the actual roundups (to the tune of more than $100,000 tax dollars in NYC alone).
Its a little like, "The fox guarding the chicken house."
It seems that it is to the USDA's benefit -- both financially and in terms of prestige (a literal "feather in their cap") to "solve" New York City's manufactured "goose problem" and help insure "airline safety" in one of the grandest cities in the world.  
But, this seeming conflict of interest might lead one to question USDA's estimations of actual goose numbers in New York City as well as their assessments of goose behavior and flying patterns.
Were USDA to say, for example, that geese don't pose threat to airliners sufficient enough to justify roundup and slaughter of thousands of NYC resident geese, their contract for killing geese on grand and continuing scale would likely go out the window.
On the other hand, if USDA can make the case that the geese are nearly as menacing and threatening as a tiger in a day care center, this results in a multi-year killing contract with the city that seemingly sees no end. -- In essence, the perennial goose that lays the golden egg, year after year after year.
I personally don't know where all this bureaucracy, double talk and behind closed doors decision making ends.
Will it end with total eradication of resident geese in New York City? 
That seems unlikely as USDA would presumably not want to kill the last goose that lays the golden eggs year after year.  Such would not be to their ultimate benefit.
But, it will probably result in just those few geese being allowed to survive in New York City who are necessary to keep the golden eggs flowing.
Right now, it seems those few geese might just be the ones hanging on in Central Park.
An official from Central Park Conservancy yesterday virtually assured me the geese at CP would not be subjected to a USDA roundup.
"We do not engage in nor support roundups of our wildlife in Central Park." the gentleman told me quite emphatically.
And as if hearing the actual conversation, a flock of 15 geese magically flew into the Central Park Reservoir late yesterday.
"Hey, did you hear the news?  This is the place to be!"
Who says the geese aren't clairvoyant or surreptiously  listening in to human conversations about them? 
They are, after all, quite extraordinary and exceptional animals. 
Sometimes, I think the geese are secretly laughing at us humans behind our backs.  -- PCA

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