Skip to comments.Goose population drops 75 percent in Seattle parks (In lib vs lib, PETA goose is cooked)
Posted on 06/04/2003 1:04:55 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
The Canada goose population in Seattle parks is down by about 75 percent from three years ago, when federal agents started rounding up and killing thousands of the birds to control their numbers.
Federal wildlife agents have destroyed more than 5,600 geese in Seattle since a federal judge ruled in 2000 that the government could kill Canada geese in portable gas chambers set up on the back of trucks.
The more aggressive approach has worked to the point where people can "see and enjoy" the geese, but "not be slipping in poop everywhere," said Roger Woodruff, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official in Olympia.
"We're very encouraged by the success of it so far," Woodruff said.
Bacteria in bird waste also is blamed by park officials for causing so-called "swimmer's itch" in local waters. But while Woodruff and Seattle parks officials call the eradication program a success, animal-rights activists are girding for another season of protest. They say the roundups are cruel and unnecessary and advocate nonlethal methods.
At Westlake Center yesterday, activists showed a video of federal agents shoving honking geese into a gas chamber in the back of a truck. One protester wore a goose costume and carried a sign reading: "Seattle you slay me."
Agents use bread and rowboats to get the geese onto land and into fenced pens in June and July.
For the past three years, activists have staked out area parks, keeping watch in shifts for game agents. If the agents appear, the activists shoo the birds into the water, where they are not allowed to be captured.
Instead of killing birds, opponents including the Humane Society of the United States and PAWS advocate spraying goose eggs or addling them with vegetable or mineral oil, which kills the embryos when air can't get through the eggshell.
The most humane way to control geese, opponents say, would be to addle eggs; plant thick shrubs, which discourage them from coming ashore; and use dogs to chase the birds away.
"What they have never done in Seattle is a comprehensive program doing all of these things at one time for a long period of time," said Jennifer Hillman, a legislative coordinator for the Progressive Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS.
But Woodruff said killing the birds was a last resort. Starting in 1993, agents addled almost 12,000 eggs.
But Canada geese live for about 15 years, so even if their eggs don't hatch one year, they'll try again the next, Woodruff said.
There are about 20,000 adult Canada geese in the Puget Sound area, according to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife estimate.
Seattle Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Dewey Potter said the city tried other methods before it hired federal wildlife agents on a $3,000-a-year contract to kill birds.
"We hate having to do it," Potter said. "It's painful and we don't like it."
In past years, the city tried attaching a shiny fringe to docks to scare geese away; it sprayed a grape-based substance that tastes bitter to birds to discourage them from eating the grass; and it relocated birds.
Potter said the department has received threatening e-mails and phone calls and protesters demonstrated in front of the home of Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds on Sunday and Monday.
"They are slaughtering animals in public parks, and he is the man who is doing it. He should be tormented," said Bob Chorush of Give Geese a Chance.
Gee, taking them to a mini-Auschwits is so much more humane than hunting them. </sarcasm>
Ah yes, once again abortion is the humane solution...
I can just hear John Lenin singing now...
BTW, why not donate the geese to shelters to be cooked and served as food? So what if the homeless started whining about goose like the kid did about turkey in 'A Christmas Story' ("Goose this, goose that, goose sandwiches, goose soup, goose casserole, goose goulache,...), beggars can't be choosers.
Agreed. I think I remember reading the meat was offered to the shelters and food banks. The offers were rejected because of the lack of a USDA inspection protocol.
Can't have the needy eating non-goobernint certfied, (but safe), food, no way!
Have they considered teaching the birds abstinence, or handing out birth control at goose high schools?
OK, so close the park one morning per week, and open it for bow-hunting. Arrows make no noise, and have limited range, making them much safer than shotguns. Plus if you do it from tree-stands, any misses will just go into the ground near the goose.
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