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Meet Pierre, a new Canada goose in Prospect Park. Just don’t get too attached to him — he’ll likely be dead this summer.
That’s right — despite months of outrage over the federal government’s massacre of more than 250 Canada geese in Prospect Park last summer, authorities are already sharpening their figurative knives for another round of bloodletting in the name of aviation security.
Yet never has this killing been justified by the people running the slaughterhouse. First, authorities said they needed a five-mile bird-free ring around the city airports. Then, our investigation revealed that it was the Bloomberg Administration that pushed for a seven-mile ring to avoid possible future litigation in airplane crash lawsuits.
When we revealed that the lake in Prospect Park is actually outside the seven-mile limit, authorities shrugged. They said they hoped that humane methods of cutting bird populations — using dogs and destroying just-laid eggs, for example — would obviate the need for another mass execution of defenseless animals, who were rounded up in huge movable pens under cover of darkness during the brief period when they shed their flying feathers and cannot escape from predators like man.
But guess what? Nature always finds a way. Today, the population of Canada geese in the park is almost back to its pre-massacre state. And Wednesday’s New York Times followed our last November exclusive about the goosicide — made it clear that authorities are drooling over such a large number of waterfowl.
The federal Department of Agriculture, the newspaper reported, “is gearing up for another round of goose removals this year, using new capturing techniques … and extending the hunt beyond the birds’ molting season.”
New techniques? The mind reels in horror at what is about to take place in Prospect Park.
Make no mistake, air passengers should be safe. But we find it simply incomprehensible that birds more than seven miles away from JFK Airport needed to be rounded up and gassed simply because other methods of control are more inconvenient or require more work on the part of humans.
Prospect Park is an urban oasis — the kind of place that we take our kids so that they can experience nature, even in a truncated, somewhat artificial way. Parents have already been barred from letting their children feed the geese — a time-honored rite that goes back, perhaps, to the very dawn of Mankind — in an effort to keep the bird population down.
Now those parents are going to have to explain — again — why all of the birdies are gone.
For now, you’ll see Pierre — named after the founder of his hometown back in Quebec — flying around with the blaze orange tracking tag around his neck, evidence that his movements are being monitored very closely.
Today, we are encouraged by Park officials to delight in his movements, his grace, his flight, yet in the weeks to come, the same authorities will murder him as a pest no different than a rat. It chills the very soul to think that man’s need to dominate the world will again lead to the slaughter of these defenseless, beautiful birds.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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