Lake of ire! Goose lovers will rally to stop this summer’s slaughter

A gooseless city? Feds reveal that they can kill birds pretty much anywhere
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Wildlife advocates, politicians and kids will rally in Prospect Park on March 26 to protest the likely slaughter of the park’s geese.

The goal of the “Hands Around the Lake” event is to implore the city to end its ongoing goose-eradication contract with the federal agency that secretly slaughtered hundreds of waterfowl last summer and is preparing to do so again if the goose population cannot be controlled.

“It’s a visual statement,” said Mary Beth Artz, who organized the event. “There are other ways to deal with the goose population.”

The killing of close to 300 geese and goslings last year was done in the name of aviation safety, but after locals and animal rights groups were horrified by the middle-of-the-night operation, the Prospect Park Alliance began an initiative to control the goose population in hopes of forestalling another federal slaughter.

The effort includes destroying goose eggs before embryos can form, deploying bird-chasing dogs, and discouraging park-goers from feeding the fowl.

But it’s unclear if the initiative will be successful. Federal officials have said that if the population remains in the hundreds, it is likely that another “culling” will be necessary.

Indeed, the city still has a contract with the Department of Agriculture — the federal agency responsible for the slaughter. It’s a sign that, as geese population swells, the feds are sharpening their knives.

Hands Around the Lake isn’t the first event that will draw animal lovers — and not just the activist set — to the lake in the name of changing city policy. A week after the slaughter, more than 100 people gathered for a vigil next to a lake that was sadly devoid of the graceful birds.

State Sen. Eric Adams (D–Park Slope) — a former cop who will attend this year’s event — spoke eloquently about how affected he was by the slaughter, holding up a picture of a goose being trailed by six of her goslings.

“This picture says it all,” he said. “The relationship between a mother and child is not unique to human beings. These are babies, no matter what term we use for them.

“Geese do not need to adjust to us,” he added. “We have to adjust to them.”

Hands Around the Lake [meet at the Prospect Park well house, just inside the entrance at Vanderbilt Street and Prospect Park Southwest in Windsor Terrace, (646) 354-9040], March 26, 12:30 pm.