March 4, 2011 / Brooklyn news / Meadows of Shame

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

The Brooklyn Paper
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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.

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Reader Feedback

Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
OMG, I live in a community of IDIOTS.
March 4, 2011, 12:43 am
Cynthia from Clinton Hill says:
Ok here we go again! i wonder if they just kill them out of excuse or is there this secret society that wants to eat geese.@Steve, yep i agree totally.
March 4, 2011, 8:25 am
Jenine from WT says:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
March 4, 2011, 8:31 am
J from Windsor Terrace says:
If they're going to slaughter the geese, why not turn them into food like we used to do before we started eating caged and hormone injected animals. Even pet food?
March 4, 2011, 8:49 am
Jamie from Flatbush says:
I want to know when they're going to rally to stop the MTA from poisoning the rats in the subway.

Or do they only care about animals they find aesthetically pleasing?
March 4, 2011, 8:59 am
Elizabeth from Prospect Heights says:
All animals deserve respect.

Perhaps you can organize something for the rats.
March 4, 2011, 9:49 am
Kaylin from Brooklyn says:
I'm actually okay with the slaughter if they're eating them. It's wasteful killing that I find wrong...
March 4, 2011, 10:15 am
OhioOrrin from W'burg says:
Geese are a non-native, invasive species w/o a natural predator. so the pop grows to consume all available food, degrade the environment (infected feces), deny habitat for native species, & can be noisy & aggressive. they should be culled humanely so the meat can be given to the homeless at mission houses or eaten in jails. all states allow geese to be hunted.
March 4, 2011, 10:53 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Geese are not endangered.

Gas away!
March 4, 2011, 12:52 pm
PattyA from Manhattan says:
Great article, but most of the comments make one suspect there is something in the drinking water.

We can cram 200,000 people at a rave event. We can get more than 100,000 humans to a football game.

But, a couple of hundred geese in a big park cannot be tolerated?

Something very wrong in that picture.

And it has nothing to do with geese.

Get a grip, folks.
March 4, 2011, 1:22 pm
Lynn from Brooklyn says:
It is not about whether they are endangered or not. It is about doing the right thing.

Gassing has nothing to do with conservation but is has everything to do with lack of ethics and compassion.
March 4, 2011, 4:26 pm
Jeff from Red Hook says:
Is Bloomberg on the bill?

I'd like a few moments with him..We all know this was a ruse to let people think that they are safer in the skies.
Such BS.....

all the gassing did was fill his and his cronies pockets with $!

By the way, how many geese are back now?

Wow, it really worked a**holes!
March 4, 2011, 10:48 pm
Brenda from Flatbush says:
They're lovely in small groups at a distance, but up close I have often witnessed these revolting, greedy, aggressive birds terrorize young children; and their endless mounds of feces have befouled the park and made a disgrace out of the historic monuments in nearby Green-Wood Cemetery. Enough with the sentimental claptrap. Even without the danger to aviation, the herd should be culled, humanely and preferably by using the meat to feed prisoners.
March 5, 2011, 10:10 pm
Johanna from Park Slope says:
Someone wrote "Geese are not endangered." Really? Does that person understand the "bigger picture?" This is a cannot see the forest for the trees - type perspective. Every conservation group in the world has stated the imminent extinction of all wild birds and animals as long as pollution and development continues to force them to the edges of the earth and make it impossible for them to survive. The passenger pigeon, one of the most intelligent and "heroic" (used in WWII to carry messages) was not "endangered." The Passenger Pigeon was hunted to extinction. None exist. Where are wildlife if there is no wild area for them to be safe and to live?
March 6, 2011, 5:59 pm
Johanna from Park Slope says:
Who exactly has decided that there are too many geese? And I would rather see a beautiful live water bird than a tombstone for someone who is long dead. Bird droppings are among the most popular fertilizer used world-wide. Maybe sentient creatures trump dead ones. Take a look at the "big picture." This is what the Wildlife Services (USDA) would like to continue doing. Hundreds of thousands of wildlife killed EVERYWHERE with no limits. When do we say enough? Your looking at the bird poo in a graveyard but not looking at the intention to rid our country of any and every wild animal they can gas, torture, kill. see the latest info in NY Magazine:
March 6, 2011, 6:09 pm
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
Who exactly has decided that no minimum IQ, and no clue as to the scientific basis for killing the geese still allows you to comment on this subject?

If killing the geese reduces the chance of an airline disaster by 0.1%, it's a worthy undertaking.
March 6, 2011, 8:02 pm
Robert from Fort Greene says:
@Steven, There is NO reason to kill these birds when there are humane alternatives available. That is the point behind this argument.

To go into the park, like they did last year, with no transparency to the community and cowardly kill adult birds and their offspring in a most horrific way is not tha way to go, pal. Anyone with a conscience and an ounce of heart knows better.

Bloomberg wanted these resident Canada geese and their babies dead to make you think that he was actually doing something in your best interest. Killing these birds does nothing for airline safety. Look at how many have taken the place of those exterminated!

I am all for the human/animal balance. BUT let's do it the right way, no reason to kill...

Humans are destroying this planet. Not Canada Geese.
March 6, 2011, 8:50 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Here's a compromise - clip the wings of the gees so they can't fly - then you can have the geese to look at in the park, and you can gorge them with bread - win win!
March 7, 2011, 10:24 am
Cathy from PS says:
Bravo to these communiyt members who are trying to change things for the betterment of beings other than themselves.

Punishing a bird for doing whatcomes naturally, flying, so that we can rule the skies is such crap. Speaking of craop, goose poop is alot better than all the human crap one has to deal with all day long.
March 7, 2011, 11:29 am
al pankin from downtown says:
the geese are a danger to humans who travel in airplanes..people come first..
it is really touching to read Eric Adams an ex cop maybe we could have him use the geese for target practice, that would be real good for public safety.
March 7, 2011, 9:16 pm
Jake Eleon from Prospect Heights says:
It's not about people vs birds.
What makes you think you are more superior?
The Geese in Prospect Park are resident geese who pond hop between the park and the cemetery. Bloomberg has terrorized his constituents into believing that gassing geese will make skies safer. There is no evidence of this.

Gassing these birds did nothing for airline safety. Bird strikes do occur, HOWEVER, geese account for a very small percentage of these strikes.

We live on the Atlantic Flyway. Makes a lot of sense that they constructed the airports smack dab in the middle.

How about they redesign the flight paths? Or better yet, use the radar that is available.

Good for Adams, standing up - Nice to see some folks have heart and are not ashamed to show it.
March 8, 2011, 3:37 pm
BThompson from Caton Ave says:
I think it is wonderful folks are standing up for what is right. Not sure how the goons that did this horrible deed can sleep at night and look at themselves in the mirror the next day.

These birds (and all wildlife) have the right to live in peace.
March 8, 2011, 10:46 pm

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