Thursday, September 13, 2012

Of Tyranny and Peace

 (Photos: 1-- Danny today at Harlem Meer.  Taking in day on tiny "island" in middle of lake. 2-- Brad and Wiggly enjoying a rare easy and peaceful day.)

"Processing" Blues

The more we learn about "Parkers Poultry Processing" in Dansville, New York, the more troubling the realizations.

For one matter, the bird slaughtering (or gassing) operation is more than 300 miles from New York City and is 6 hours away. 

For another, it has only 5 employees.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife "Refuge" geese were rounded up by USDA between 10AM and Noon on July 9th. These normally cold weather birds were stuffed 4 to 6 into turkey crates on a hot and humid July day and trucked almost 350 miles away.

The crammed geese (on their literal journey to hell), could not have arrived to the so-called "processing" facility until at least 6 PM.  

Assuming ALL 5 employees were there at the time, how could they slaughter or gas 711 geese without going well into the night?   Were they paid overtime?  Is this small time operation open both day and night?

These seem unlikely.

Rather, one suspects the 711 geese were not killed the same day they were rounded up and might have actually spent more than 24 hours crammed 4 to 6 in the suffocating  turkey crates.

Imagine the sheer terror and suffering these birds had to endure even before they were actually slaughtered or gassed?

Though many of the facts still remain fuzzy, the one thing we know without any doubt, is that these geese did not die "humanely" and surely they were not "euthanized."

New York State Director of USDA Wildlife Services, Martin Lowney's repeated  use of these terms in permit request letters to Gateway National Recreation Area and National Parks Services (as well as to the public and press) thus represents inaccuracy and lie.

One has to wonder what else USDA Wildlife Services lies about?
Strange Priorities -- The Real Terrors in Our Urban Parks

Claiming them to be the "terrorists" of skies and "nuisances" of parks, New York City has spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to round up and massacre more than 4,000 Canada geese in the last three years.

But, who and what are the real terrorists of our parks? 

Does anyone really need to be afraid that they, their children or their grandmothers are going to be molested or harmed in any way by a Canada goose, a raccoon or a squirrel?

But, yesterday in broad daylight, a 74-year-old bird watching woman was beaten, robbed and raped near Strawberry Fields in Central Park:

As a senior citizen who loves observing nature and birds and has frequented this area of Central Park over the past summer, the news stunned and disquieted, but did not shock.

For all the times I have gone to Central Park both day and night, I have never for a second, been afraid of any creature of wing or four legs that might be encountered.

But, I have occasionally seen human "weirdos" (particularly in the Rambles, mentioned in the article) that raise the hairs on the back of one's neck.

Fortunately, I have two dogs that afford me some sense of protection and security.

But, not everyone has dogs.

It is beyond comprehension, our city's  tyrannical campaign against Canada geese -- a gentle, peaceful and completely harmless bird, while seemingly ignoring the real threats to human safety and well being in our urban parks.

Last month, a blind man was struck by a cyclist in Central Park and suffered a broken hip and numerous other injuries and had to be hospitalized.

News of this incident did not surprise me at all as I had been expecting it for a long time.

Walk across or on the Park Drives of Central Park any day or evening and you will think that you are in the midst of the "Tour de France" and surrounded by thousands of Lance Armstrongs racing to the finish line.

The bicycles made today are nothing like the ones I grew up riding upon nor are most of the young men riding them today anything like the kids or adults normally taking their bikes on a leisurely ride.

As said, Central Park has become more like a 365-day,  "Tour de France."

That may be fine for a once-a-year world event in a controlled environment.  

But, if you are a mother with children trying to get across the Park Drive or a senior citizen or disabled person, watch out.

More than once I have seen near misses in pedestrian/cyclist encounters and once nearly had one myself.

One thing for sure:  If you are a pedestrian and are struck by someone going 30 or 40 miles an hour on a bicycle, you are not going home with just a couple of scratches.

Recently, Central Park put up neon, blinking signs in several locations advising cyclists to "obey" normal traffic rules.

But, if a racer training for some cycling event, its unlikely these signs will have much if any impact at all upon the cyclist's riding style and speed.

One needs to be aware at all times of the real dangers and threats in city parks, but they have absolutely ZERO to do with Canada geese or any other non-human animal for that matter.  

Rather,  they have everything to do with the human animal.   

Nevertheless, our spineless Mayor, ruthless Senator and certain park leaderships would prefer to take their eyes off of the real dangers facing the people of our city and focus instead on innocent Canada geese who never hurt or harmed anything and who (most significantly) do not have the power of either voice or vote to protest the tyranny against them.

Strange priorities.

A Rare Peaceful and Picture Perfect Day

This morning I went to Harlem Mere at 10 AM. 

I could not believe the difference in the behavior of the ducks at this particular time compared to other times of the year and day.

Both, in the early mornings and evenings, mallards tend to be wary, constantly alert and jumpy.

Much of the reason for that is due to people's off leash dogs. (Off leash hours in the park are up till 9 AM in the mornings and after 9 PM at night.)

While most people are responsible and their dogs well behaved, there are the occasional nimrods who think it "cute" that their dogs harass the waterfowl and sometimes even jump into the water to go after them.

The result of all that is the ducks are generally very uneasy in the early mornings and late evenings and have to be on constant high alert.

The other times waterfowl has to be on high alert are spring and summer. -- Lots of fishing  and occasional rowdy kids who chase or throw sticks or rocks at the birds.  Lots of human activity, not all of it, gentle and peaceful.

Waterfowl also has to be on high alert in winter, especially when frigid temperatures threaten lakes to freeze over.

In other words, high alert almost all the time.

But, this morning, it was different.

The weather was beautiful and picture perfect.

It was a weekday and school began last week for the kids. 

Most people have to work, so there were few people and no fishermen.

Most of the ducks, including Brad, Wiggly and Honker were resting and happily sunbathing in the small grassy areas surrounding Harlem Meer.

Everything about their posture and behavior said, "Ah, it is beautiful and peaceful today. We can sit back and relax.  We can BREATHE!" 

Many of the mallards actually appeared to be sleeping and dreaming -- something I personally rarely see!

And then there was Danny, the loner goose.

For the past three days, Danny has been staying along the edges of the tiny, plant filled island that is in the middle of the lake.

I am not sure whether this is good or bad news.

It is "good" in the sense that it is a very safe location for the loner goose. Basically, nothing can get to Danny there.  Not dogs, rambunctious kids or fishing lines.

But, it is troubling from the standpoint of its seeming isolation from other bird activities around the Meer -- though occasionally a few mallards hang out with Danny.

But, this morning, even Danny appeared relaxed and quietly alert.

He gazed out over the lake as if, like the ducks, simply enjoying a rare and peaceful day.

Just breathe and take it in.......

And so, like the birds around the Meer, I decided to simply relax and enjoy the day.

Its not too often days like this come around.  -- PCA


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