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July 18, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Meadows of Shame

Scores of humans honor Prospect Park’s dead geese

The Brooklyn Paper

More than 100 people — from animal rights activists to animal consumers as well — gathered on Saturday night beside a Prospect Park lake devoid of hundreds of Canadian geese slaughtered by federal officials last week for a somber and angry vigil.

The crowd of activists and regular park-goers vowed to turn their anger about the July 8 massacre into a campaign to get the city and the United States Department of Agriculture to change its policy about the killings of geese, which have been done periodically in the name of airplane safety, but have never been done in such a wholesale manner as the early morning secret operation inside Prospect Park.

“We have met with the city and the USDA and presented evidence that these slaughters are unnecessary and inhumane, but they refuse to listen,” said Patrick Kwan, New York State director of the Humane Society of the United States. “There are better ways, there are humane ways and there are more effective ways to control geese.”

Kwan addressed the need to keep airlines safe from bird strikes, but said that studies show that birds that hit airliners are typically migratory birds, as opposed to the Prospect Park population, which consisted of resident geese.

But on July 8, agents of the USDA, hired by the city, rounded up geese in movable pens, 20 or so at a time, and took them to a nearby vehicle to be gassed with carbon dioxide. The hours-long operation left an area of the park covered in feathers and plastic handcuff-like ties that were soon discovered by park-goers, and the secret was out.

“I’m not an ‘animal nut’ or anything, but the magnitude of this operation was just so disgusting to me,” said Andy Gensler, a Kensington resident who attended with his young daughter, Ida. “My daughter fed those geese. It’s just so horrible.”

The attendees were at the vigil for different reasons, which included hostility to the way the government conducted the slaughter, concern that the park itself had been scarred by the violence, and the general conviction that animal lives are no less important than those of humans.

“Canada geese have a right to live as much as we do,” said Wayne Johnson, an animal rights activist from Brooklyn Heights.

“What bothered me,” added Joan Cameron, “was the complete lack of ethics. It does not appear that they examined non-lethal solutions to this quote-unquote problem.”

Jeanne Grifo felt that the “assassins” had crossed a line.

“This park is a place of peace and relaxation, not carnage,” she said.

That opinion was shared by state Sen. Eric Adams (D–Park Slope), who prefaced his remarks by holding up a picture of a goose being trailed by six 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.”

He also questioned the need for animal eradication at all.

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

Adams and Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope) vowed to “not let this happen again,” as Adams put it.

One vigil attendee was particularly angry about a statement issued by Prospect Park Administrator Tupper Thomas, who finally broke her silence on Friday night in a statement that said that the geese had been “euthanized.”

“I can’t believe she used the term ‘euthanized,’ ” said Tony Chiappelloni, president of FIDO, the dog owners group that includes hundreds of regular park-goers. “Euthanasia is something you do to someone who has a painful, terminal disease and you want to end the pain.

“She knew! She knew this was coming and she did nothing to stop it,” Chiappelloni added. “And, worse, she knows these geese! She knows they aren’t migratory.”

Thomas’s statement said that the city would form a “wildlife management task force comprised of experts in the field” to “strengthen the Alliance and Parks Department’s commitment to safeguarding both nature and people.”

Vigil organizer Chio Flores, who also founded the “For the Love of the Geese in Prospect Park” Facebook page, suggested that Thomas’s “task force” would only be satisfactory if it abhorred violence.

“Killing these geese shows a lack of respect for life and is counter to the lessons we teach our children,” she said. “There is already so much violence in our children’s lives, so it’s wrong to teach them that violence is a tool. It is not.”

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Catherine King from Winnipeg, Canada says:
What a shame. I completely agree with the activists; we need to respect all life; not just what is convenient for us at the moment. Teach our children compassion, kindness, respect; not violence and self centeredness.
July 18, 2010, 8:27 am
Mark Lieber from Brooklyn says:
What are the two raging Park Slope controversies in the Paper? The geese and the bike lane? And do I understand the Paper's editorial positions? Killing the geese is bad because there was no public discussion? And the bike lane is good even though there was no public discussion?
July 18, 2010, 12:14 pm
Gersh from Park Slope says:
I don't often weigh in here, but I need to make a "point of information," Mark: The Paper's editorial board never complained about "process" in the geese slaughter — just about the slaughter.

Read it all here: http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/33/29/bp_parkedit_2010_07_16_bk.html

And the bike lane did have ample public discussion at the Community Board level. We covered all those meetings.

Thanks.

GERSH KUNTZMAN
Editor
The Brooklyn Paper
July 18, 2010, 2:23 pm
Mark Lieber from Brooklyn says:
Gersh,from your editorial:
"...without so much as a word of public discussion..."
July 18, 2010, 3:07 pm
johanna from park slope says:
http://johannaclearfield.wordpress.com/
July 18, 2010, 7:16 pm
Gersh from Park Slope says:
OK, "never" was a bit strong. But process was not the focus of the editorial.
July 18, 2010, 9:19 pm
dogkrazy from usa says:
“What bothered me,” added Joan Cameron, “was the complete lack of ethics.
---------------------------------------

what bothers me... is they didnt let hunters hunt them and then use the meat
to feed homeless or starving people or maybe shelter dogs or lions..surely
there is a use that they could be put towards

I bet if one of those AR nuts was in an airplane they would be downright
grateful to have the goose dead before it gets into the planes engine

when the geese worry about how the humans will live and survive etc is the day the humans need to worry about the geese
July 18, 2010, 11:33 pm
ardeth from santa fe says:
Until humans stop exploiting animals for our own interests, we cannot call ourselves civilized. My mother grew up in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, so I felt I had to comment.
July 18, 2010, 11:57 pm
Dave from Clinton Hill says:
Totally appropriate to have a vigil for this event, and we definitely need better stewardship for the park than "Tupper" who is showing a distinct lack of understanding for how a park should exist and the respect for life that should be entailed within it.
July 19, 2010, 12:42 am
Mike from MarinePark says:
While I would agree that killing hundreds of birds for no reason is in human, I have to stop and think that by not managing the flock will only cause the population to either die due to lack of food, or disease. What has to be done is animal management, such as reviewing the flock, checking for eggs, and so on.

The EPA all know too well that effective management thus the reason why we have hunting seasons. If the Department of Parks really does it's job, they would control the number of geese and keep in humane killings out of the picture.
July 19, 2010, 10:04 am
Dr. Rosset says:
For the well meaning but unknowing public these geese do not migrate but remain in a public space designed and intended for humans not thousands of geese who leave their droppings all over and get sucked into the engines of jet airplanes. Would you all be holding vigil when a plane went down due to these geese. NO, animal rights is all about how evil human beings are and Peter Singer the leader of the animal rights movement has already expressed in the New York Times that we human beings should be the last generation of human beings. He is a traitor to his species and so are animal rights groups. Animal welfare people are concerned with the welfare of both humans and animals whereas animal rights is not interested in the safety of humans but only in animals. These geese even if trucked somewhere else will only fly back to this spot. These will geese carry avian flu and could not be used for food unless tested another expense. These 100 people should read more carefully and not respond to the frenzy created by animal rights people who don't want you to own a pet, eat meat or have any one of the 350 medicines that come from animals. In fact they are teaching your sons and daughters to neuter themselves so they will be the last generation on this earth. Be very wary of all animal rights and animal liberation cults these people are dangerous and due to lack of VB12 can be extremely irrational.
July 19, 2010, Noon
Clara from MINNESOTA says:
Dr. Rosset you sound like an extremely
biased individual whose loyalties are all human.
So that's ok- but your knowledge of animal
rights and animal welfare individuals is
slanted and uninformed at best.
These geese died for nothing
and for the thousands more who die
nation wide in the same sort of "hunt"
it is disgusting and short sited on the part of
the "control" crowd.
July 19, 2010, 2:51 pm
Bemused from NYC says:
No, Rosset is just nuts.
"How evil human beings are"? "Traitor to his species"? "Teaching your sons and daughters to neuter themselves"? "Irrational" and "dangerous" "due to lack of VB12"?
If Rosset's post is any indication, an ABUNDANCE of vitamin B12 must cause paranoid brain-melt.
July 19, 2010, 3:25 pm
Danad from manhattan says:
I bet Dr. Rosset is a vivisector. Probably good at ONE thing...applying for worthless grants.
July 19, 2010, 8:35 pm
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
Since we are currently under the oppression of the most left-wing federal, state, and City governments in American history (and thus the most "animal rights"-friendly regimes), I see no reason to not give the feds the benefit of the doubt re the efficacy and humanity of putting the geese to sleep.

Come on animal rights people: have you challenged things in court? Sounds like a better method than the juvenile rantings on this subject here (and at the "vigil" this past weekend...)
July 19, 2010, 11:50 pm
hamilton from windsor terrace says:
mark , if there was a public discussion, i'm sure the recommendation would be , spare the geese and kill the bikers.
July 20, 2010, 10:09 am
Joy from Kensington says:
Steven Rosenberg...
At least folks are working on making a change...One question, Did you go to the vigil? If you did, then why???

I think the point here is, if the officials used their heads, they should have controlled the population overtime. Did the "400" appear over night? NO...and why didn't they utilize other humane ways of dealing with the issue....and why didn't they commit the crime in the open instead of resorting to slaughtering them in the middle of the night, tossing their bodies in plastic bags and dumping them in a landfill...And why has no on commented on the massacre? In a nutshell, No respect for life
July 20, 2010, 11:28 am
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
Joy from Kensington, I did not go to the vigil because, if the comments here (Brooklyn Paper; not just this thread) are typical, I do not support the vigil.

You, too, talk in terms I would expect from a young "smart" child. You have zero knowledge whether what was done was necessary/effective and/or humane. You simply feel bad that beautiful birds were put to sleep.

Guess what: I am not delighted that beautiful birds, beloved by kids and adults, were put to sleep either. It's sad. But unlike you, while I certainly have my flaws, I realize that there's a good or excellent chance that what was done was necessary.

You and others here seem to have no clue that this is not a new issue; and putting the geese to sleep wasn't done on a lark.

Why do you insist that putting the geese to sleep was not necessary? Why do you assume this was the work of mad, cruel government officials?
July 20, 2010, 5:49 pm
Eddie from Bay Ridge says:
Steven, you've descended into self-parody with this supercilious "young 'smart' child" thing.

Yeah, it's a break from your usual - calling people depraved, arrogant, amoral, juvenile, "childish know-nothing" left-wingers with broken? no? morals due to bad parenting. (So many "youth" pejoratives, wonder why.) Still, it's peculiar when you have to puff yourself up by diminishing everybody else at the get-go.
July 20, 2010, 7:46 pm
jay from pslope says:
yes Steven Rosenberg we are soooooooo oppressed here, I long for the freedom that they enjoy in the Gaza strip thanks to to Israel putting everyone into a ghetto, thats the way to be, or maybe Dubai built with slave labor and sex trafficking. The oppression here, living in the best city in the best country is just tooooo terrible for me to take anymore. I constantly have to listen to bozos like you run this country down about how terrible everything is, its making me feel terribly oppressed.
Maybe you should just shut your stupid pie hole and move to any number of countries where whinny loud mouths like you are properly executed before 9 am so as to not disturb the public.
July 21, 2010, 12:56 am
Tricia from Windsor Terrace says:
Wow... Personal sorrow aside, my concern as a citizen is that due diligence was not done before such extreme, cruel and unscientific methods were employed at undisclosed costs . If our officials, city and federal, really wanted to address potential problems, they would have employed rational steps: radio tags, studying the flock's actual patterns, implementing mandotory landing lights and radar during entire flights (studies have shown this to be most effective in both pilot and geese avoiding each other). Bird strikes happen every day, resulting in expensive damage which is the cost of doing buisness in the air, but the statistical probability of the "Hudson" incident is extremly low. It is ludicrous to attempt to secure the ENTIRE SKY; if this was a real concern, expensive alterations to jet engines would become mandatory. Killing animals is easier, although not necessarily cheaper, as big money contracts are involved: actuaries want to cover their ass(ets). Our expensive and finite landfill space was wasted: those corpses were double bagged with expensive city contract non-biodegradable bags (I suspect). Other animals could have used the protein, or there could have been a "Cook the Goose" contest with city chefs to be above board . Frankly, anyone who isn't at least disturbed by the concept, much less the implementation of secret mobile gassing stations in the middle of the night by "our" government officials is naive.

PS I went to the vigil. It offered both solace and shame. These were simple animals that live instinctively by codes of society and honor that we could learn from.
Peace to the Geese.
July 21, 2010, 1:55 pm
Barry from PS says:
I biked by the lake this morning. There were Geese on the lake.
July 21, 2010, 4:26 pm
Sam from Midwood says:
I will not rest until this injustice is rectified!

I cry myself to bed each night knowing that modern day Nazis Tupper Thomas and Carol Bannerman roam freely!

Goose goose goose
Bend neck towards sky sing
White feather float green water
Red foot push clear wave

Goose, goose, goose,
You bend your neck towards the sky and sing.
Your white feathers float on the emerald water,
Your red feet push the clear waves.
July 21, 2010, 4:30 pm
Mary from Manhattan says:
Rosenberg--
It is you who is ignorant. For one thing, the geese were not put the sleep. They were slaughtered. Scratching and flailing miserably and frantically as they suffocated.
There is not one shred of scientific evidence that slaughtering Canada geese will make the skies safer.
Aug. 24, 2010, 11:48 am

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