We, Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) are beautiful birds with a black head and neck, white patches on the face, and a brownish-gray body. We are native to arctic and temperate regions of North America. Children and their parents love to see us in the parks of New York City. We enjoy their company, too.
Unfortunately, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is waging a war against us. Numerous recent round-ups and mass killings of our babies and parents have sparked outrage among our human friends.
“The USDA is Waging War Against America’s Canada Geese,” says In Defense of Animals (IDA).
We can not vote, so we ask our human friends to vote for politicians that care about us and will protect us from the USDA.
GooseWatch NYC has endorsed Yetta G. Kurland, Carlos Menchaca and Helen Rosenthal for City Council. They are our friends!
David Karopkin, Founder and Director of GooseWatch NYC, says “Yetta Kurland, Carlos Menchaca, and Helen Rosenthal are dedicated fighters for all New Yorkers, and proud advocates for animals. They agree that New York City’s current policy is the wrong approach, and have pledged their support for our efforts to protect Canada geese and other urban wildlife.”
If you are a friend of animals, GooseWatch NYC is “looking for street canvassers for each of our endorsed City Council Candidates. We specifically need help for Yetta Kurland in the West Village, Chelsea, and Midtown West, Carlos Menchaca in Red Hook and Sunset Park, and Helen Rosenthal on the Upper West Side.”
In 2011, “community residents, New York State Senator Eric Adams, New York City Council Member Letitia “Tish” James and and pro-animal right activists convened a ‘Hands Around the Lake’ rally to demand Mayor Bloomberg to stop the killing of our Canada Geese in Prospect Park.”
On Monday, May 6, 2013, NYCLASS hosted a “mayoral forum on animal protection issues.” Five mayoral candidates attended and over 200 animal advocates. Many important issues affecting animals in NYC were discussed, and we were especially grateful for the opportunity to hear the candidates discuss their views on the killing of our families.
This is the video of the hour-long forum, skip ahead if you want to 53:36 for the question about the geese, and the candidate’s answers are transcribed below thanks to our friends at GooseWatch NYC. Decide for yourself which candidate is our friend and vote for him.
Tom Allon: In the summer of 2010, residents of Brooklyn were shocked to find that Prospect Park’s entire population of Canadian geese was killed by the USDA, as part of a Citywide program introduced by Mayor Bloomberg. Aviation and biological experts contend these methods are not merely inhumane but unnecessary, biologically, and fiscally ineffective. As mayor, would you work with animal protection organizations to implement proven non-lethal methods to resolve conflicts with Canadian geese?
Bill DeBlasio: The answer is I don’t think there was ever an effort to work with other approaches that would have been more humane, to work with experts who could have shown a better approach, and I’m committed to not just rushing in and killing animals when there might be a better way. Look, we know around the airports, and I don’t want to placate, we have a real challenge around the airports when it comes to geese, and that’s a very, very serious matter in terms of the safety of aviation. But in the case of Prospect Park it wasn’t that, and there were better approaches that weren’t tried, and we have to get every approach on the table and work with the experts.
John Liu: I certainly pledge to work with the animal care experts in terms of how to control the population of Canadian geese, I think, I recall, obviously, you had a near horrific disaster in the Hudson River and a plane crash was averted due to the skills of Sully, but nonetheless, that raised questions about how safe the airports and approaches to and from airports are. Look, I’m not a politician by trade or experience, I’m a mathematical physics major, you know what the probability is of a flock of geese being in the flight path of an airplane? I mean, it is almost infinitesimal. Is there any chance that it could happen? Yes. But, we gotta figure out what the flight paths are, there are other strategies to control the population of these kinds of birds, and in fact I don’t recall all of them, which is why I need to work more closely with the animal care experts, but I have read suggestions about how you curtail where and when these geese are living and migrating to and from, and to try to keep them out of the flight paths of the planes. The closer to the airport, obviously, statistically the more significant the probability is of an airplane flying into a flock of geese, but as you get even just a little further away from the airport it becomes almost like two planes crashing in mid-air, and that’s something that’s not going to happen. The other thing, I think with modern day technology, there are much more refined ways of seeing what’s in the air, and therefore avoiding some kind of collision between a plane and a goose, so that’s something that should explored also.
Bill Thompson: We have to approach this in a very differentiated way, there isn’t a one size fits all. So we look at Prospect Park, and it’s a very different area than the airports. I think the first thing we have to do, we have to use safety as our foundation and as the prime thing we need to focus on. But, there are other ways, working with individuals, particularly if you look at Prospect Park, and I have to admit – I was stunned that that was the result, that that’s what the City of New York working with USDA decided to do – in Prospect Park, it didn’t seem to make any sense. We obviously want to make sure that the airports are safe, and that we make sure that safety, again, is the number one issue. But, working with advocates, working with some of the newer technologies, we should be able to come up with additional ideas, that we don’t have to just go out as they did in Prospect Park and wind up killing the Canadian geese population in the City of New York. We should be able to work in a very differentiated way, safety being the first issue, but there are a lot of good ideas out there – we need to explore those ideas.
Sal Albanese: Safety is the first issue but I think we should explore other alternatives before we go in and kill a flock a geese in Prospect Park, so I would be willing to work with experts, animal control people to find out if there are any other options besides the mass eradication of the geese in Prospect Park. As John pointed out, there’s probably a more technologically smart way of addressing this rather than what was done in Brooklyn.
John Catsimatidis: I believe there should be an alternative method, I think possibly instead of shooting them or killing them, we should be putting them to sleep and try to move them some place. Well, you know, if you’re just going to kill them and new geese are going to fly in, what are you gonna do kill the new geese too? Let’s be smart about this. In addition, I didn’t hear anything about what my opponent wanted to do, which is killing all the deer in Staten Island [Joe Lhota].
Christine Quinn (was invited but) declined to attend.
On Wednesday, June 26, 2013, GooseWatch NYC and In Defense of Animals had a press conference and rally at Merchant’s Gate (Columbus Circle) Central Park to speak out against the killing of Canada geese in New York City.
The speakers were David Karopkin, Founder and Director of GooseWatch NYC, Ken Paskar, President of Friends of La Guardia Airport and former lead safety representative for the FAA Safety Team; Anja Heister, M.S. Biologist and Director of the Wild and Free-Habitats Campaign; Brian Shapiro, NY State Director of The Humane Society of the United States; Edita Birnkrant, NY Director of Friends of Animals; Suzanne Soehner, resident of the Inwood Hill Park community and Mary Beth Purdy Artz, NYC Wildlife Advocate.
We hope the next NYC Mayor will end the contract with the USDA. You can help us. Vote for somebody who you think is going to protect us and will end the roundups in NYC parks and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.