Monday, April 15, 2019
Crunch Time! Rally to Support Park Wildlife Tomorrow
We are down to crunch time, folks.
Whether the dreadful anti-wildlife-feeding proposal passes or not, depends largely on what happens over the next few days.
Specifically, at tomorrow's rally on the steps of City Hall (1 to 2 pm).
Turnout is critical, as well as decent media coverage.
I am not in New York City anymore so don't have sway over events.
A woman, Roxanne Delgado, of Bronx Animal Rights Electors is organizing the rally and has worked her butt off on this issue for months.
It appears that those in power thought it was going to be easy to pass this draconian, punitive and heartless measure into "rule" with little fanfare or notice. Indeed, they did not even go through the City Council who most assuredly, would have rejected it.
It's easy to understand why city parks officials, the Mayor and others would think this way.
After all, little media coverage and protest occurred when thousands of Canada geese were captured from NYC parks and sent for gassing or slaughter over the past decade.
Few, if any appeared to have questioned or critiqued the destruction of all trees and foliage that surrounded the Jackie Onassis Reservoir. It appears as barren wasteland over the past year-- though containing mounds of plastic trash, both, in the water and on the rocks.
And other than published press releases from NYC Parks stating some raccoons died from Distemper last year, nothing quite explains the deaths of more than 300 raccoons from Central Park in just a few months; its seemingly entire raccoon population.
So yes, it seems in light of all this, a simple rule change would likely not garner attention or protest. (Of course, they would have to elicit "Public Comment" and hold a public hearing on the matter, but such were just formalities.)
Early media reports suggested the Ban Proposal was a slam dunk and would "go into effect this summer."
But, not so fast.
People did comment -- almost 90% in opposition to ban. People showed up to protest at the hearing. A petition with more than 4,000 signatures of opposition was delivered to the Parks Commissioner and letters of protest have been published in newspapers.
Mayor deBlasio has even been confronted with the issue on radio and TV interviews. His reasons for supporting the ban are weak and feckless at best. He deflects from the real issue of scant food resources for park wildlife to blaming bird feeders for trash and rats in parks. He tries to say ban is about "Education," but punitive rules and laws aren't passed if a goal is merely, "education."
The Mayor made it sound as if city parks were over-run by hoards of wildlife feeders who littered parks with all kinds of debris from balls to balloons to bottles to old shoes. It's true parks are.littered with these items, but they are not from bird or squirrel feeders.
The truth is that less than one percent of park-goers feed birds or squirrels. (I rarely saw other feeders during the thousands of times I went to Central Park.)
But most of the people who DO feed are senior citizens, the disabled and families. People the Parks Dept and Mayor now want to label criminals.
Yes, the bureaucratic and political officials thought they would have an easy slam dunk with this -- and they still might have.
But this time there were more than just a few people willing to stand up and say, "No, not this time. Not ever!"
Killing animals is apparently one thing. Taking away a simple and basic human right is something else. (The right to feed and peacefully interact with birds or squirrels in a park. -- a right people have been enjoying for centuries.)
The City Hall rally is tomorrow. It is only for one hour. (1 to 2 pm.)
If there is way for you to attend, please do so.
Roxanne and others who have worked so hard on this need your support.
Most of all, the remaining and often struggling wildlife in city parks need you to be voice for them.