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Geese Lovers Protest More Geese Gassing

At "Hands Around the Lake," nature lovers of all ages gathered in protest of Mayor Bloomberg's potential plans for the mass slaughter of city geese.

Goose lovers flocked to Prospect Park yesterday, sending a message to Mayor Michael Bloomberg to keep his hands off park geese.

More than 100 people – from local politicians to animal activists and young animals lovers – gathered yesterday by the lakeside in Prospect Park in peaceful protest of the city’s goose gassing.

“Our goal here today, everyone, is to demand that Mayor Bloomberg end his contract with the USDA to ban Canada Geese and choose only the most humane alternatives available to extermination,” said rally organizer Mary Beth Artz, encouraging rally goers to flood the mayor with calls and comments in opposition to the extermination.

The “Hands Around the Lake” event concluded with a human chain, stretching partially around Prospect Park Lake.  The event was a “visual statement” in opposition to a standing contract between the city and the Department of Agriculture, which secretly gassed hundreds of park geese last summer after they were declared a threat to aviation safety.

New York State Senator Eric Adams shared his reasons for opposing the slaughter.

"Many of us have walked through this park after a difficult day, after trying to figure out if we're going to still have our homes, after dealing with crime, after dealing with all the difficulties we endure," shouted Adams.

"We sat in this park, in a serene environment, and sat on those rocks. Some of us courted our first love in our life, merely by sitting here. We couldn't afford a Broadway play. But we had the pleasure of seeing these birds swim."

Other speakers included choreographer Cynthia King, Friends of Animals director Edita Birnkrant, New York City Council Member Letitia James, screenwriter Eve Pomerance, New Jersey state director for The Humane Society of the United States Kathleen Schatzmann, and a young animal lover, who gave a speech he wrote about his feelings toward the planned slaughter.

"I want to thank you all for coming," young Orlando said, "and I hope we all agree that killing the geese is plain cruel."

After the speeches the crowd, linked hand-in-hand, did a walk around the lake and chanted, "All we are saying, is give geese a chance."

"I love our wildlife," said Patty Acjamine, a frequent visitor to Prospect Park. "To look at the birds one day and come the next day to find out they've all been gassed is horrifying."

The Prospect Park Alliance is working with HSUS, Brooklyn College and other groups to find alternative ways to keep the park geese population to a manageable size, including by “oiling” the eggs to prevent them from hatching, making a rule against feeding the geese and bringing in border collies to scare geese away. But the contract between the city and the USDA for the gassing of park geese expires June 30, and with the park goose population on the rise it is very possible that the city may opt to exterminate them again.

"We want to see policies in our city where we protect wildlife, not target and slaughter them needlessly and ineffectively," said Friends of Animals director Edita Birnkrant. There's a lot of violence, and grief, and destruction going on all around the world none of us have control over, but we do have control over whether or not we kill our urban wildlife."

"We have a choice of picking compassion, tolerance and respect over killing and destruction, and that's really kind of the message," said Birnkrant. "This is a message of promoting peace."

ErnestPayne March 27, 2011 at 06:56 PM
Canada Geese are a relatively invasive species and nowhere near endangered. Use them to feed the people in food banks and soup kitchens.
Elena Paperny March 28, 2011 at 01:52 PM
It's always the easiest way out to kill things, as opposed to sitting down and figuring out a rational and humane way to deal with animal overpopulation. The general misconception out there among those who are indifferent to animals is that these people somehow care more about animals than their fellow human beings without knowing a thing about them, hence the "food banks and soup kitchens" remark.
Lou Howort March 28, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Seems to me that using the geese to feed people in food banks and soup kitchens is a most rational and humane way to deal with the animal overpopulation, especially in light of the widespread unemployment and the current economic decline. It places the priority where it belongs, taking care of people first, in this case the most vulnerable and needy ones. As far as some people caring more about animals than their fellow human beings, if the shoe fits, wear it.
Jo Grossman March 28, 2011 at 04:44 PM
I'm happy they finally got it together. I ended up leaving because there were no signs or petitions except for the people wanting me to sign a petition against the carriage horses in Central Park. Indifference to living animals is sad and our wildlife should be protected. Jo Grossman
ErnestPayne March 29, 2011 at 01:21 AM
Elena, I graduated in geography / environmental studies. There are, unfortunately, a large number of species worthy of our best efforts to preserve their habitat. Canada geese are not in that group.
Kevin Beers March 29, 2011 at 01:15 PM
I find the sentiment expressed in numerous comments pretty bleak, cynical and depressing. There was never any discussion that there was an overpopulation of geese. The so called problem was that these geese represented a threat ro planes. And that argument has been discredited including by the government's own criteria for killing geese. Their guidelines were for killing geese within a 7 mile zone and Prospect Park is 9 miles away. Most people following the story have heard this fact a million times. Because of this those who just want to hate come up with various red herrings. Next they'll bring up the goose droppings. I challenge anyone to show me any noticeable amounts of goose droppings. Some people just have a need ro hate. Tell that to the families you'll see on any given day enjoying their interaction with the geese and the ducks. And tell me the park will be a better place in their absence. After the killings last year there was a sadness and an emptiness in the park. But I can't help but feel that the cranks posting here probably don't spend any time in the park. If they did I can't believe that anyone with a heart and a soul wouldn't be seduced by them.
Kevin Beers March 29, 2011 at 01:20 PM
Ernest Payne your name seems like an appropriate moniker. So in your environmental studies you learned that certain species are expendable? I think we ought to leave that up to nature to work out.
ErnestPayne March 29, 2011 at 02:19 PM
Nature, in the form of mankind, is "working it out" for better or for worse. Far better to expend your energy protecting species that ARE endangered than species that have adapted to the human environment and proliferated. An overpopulation does not mean the species is "expendable". I am sure there are some colleges offering courses, in your area, that would help you comprehend.

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