End Bloomberg’s slaughter of the innocents

End Bloomberg’s slaughter of the innocents
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Photo by Bess Adler

The Bloomberg Administration and the City Council are on a collision course over whether hundreds of geese will be brutally slaughtered in Prospect Park this summer.

Neither side is offering a real way of properly protecting geese and airline passengers, but we side with the Council, which is proposing legislation that would at the very least keep the public aware of what is being done in its name.

The Bloomberg Administration instead has been dishonorable and untrustworthy whenever geese are involved.

Last July, of course, the mayor ordered the middle-of-night, unannounced slaughter of all Canada geese in Prospect Park after deciding — again in secrecy — that the kill-zone around city airports would be extended from five miles to seven miles, even though federal experts told him that the smaller radius was fine.

Since that outrageous, brutal act — which highlighted the need to employ existing, proven and humane methods for dealing with geese — the administration has kept its focus on one “solution” to flying animals: rounding them up and killing them.

Last month, the city announced that it would hire a “wildlife biologist” from the federal Department of Agriculture to “manage” goose populations around the city. Make no mistake about the scientific job title or the benign-sounding name of the federal agency; wildlife biologists are deployed to kill animals, and the USDA is the very agency that hires them to do so.

There’s no “wildlife biology” going on here — there is just death. No wonder the Department of Sanitation is the city agency handling the contract. To this mayor, managing the city’s wildlife population is simply a matter of calling in a garbage collector.

The Council bill — Introduction 513 — is a BB gun against the Trident missiles that the mayor is using. It would create an 11-member “wildlife management advisory board” that has about as much teeth as a newborn gosling. The board would develop a “citywide wildlife management plan,” which is just jargon for a document that will end up on a shelf. The mayor can ignore the plan, and city agencies would be bound only to “consider the effect that their initiatives … have on wildlife and strive to ensure that such initiatives are in furtherance of the goals of the wildlife management plan.”

Still, it’s a start. Anything that encourages the Bloomberg Administration to view New York City as an ecosystem answerable to more than just humans and their airplanes is a positive thing. Indeed, there’s a larger issue here.

We could wax poetic about the grace of geese in flight or the importance of exposing urban kids to even a tiny bit of natural beauty. But lofty prose has nothing to do with the essential facts in this story: slaughtering innocent animals because they sometimes get in our way is simply bad stewardship of the environment — and such recklessness sends a powerful message to the next generation that humans can do with the planet whatever we wish, regardless of the needs of the nearly two million other species of plants and animals with which we share the space.

There’s a better way. And the Council bill is better than Mayor Bloomberg’s cruelty.

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