BRIGHTWATERS, NEW YORK
APRIL 7, 2006: WE HAVE ADDED TWO MORE LETTERS.
This letter was written to the editor of the Islip Bulletin and published March 9, 2006:
The idea of rounding up wildlife and slaughtering them is a horrible thought. What kind of cruel message does that send to the children of the community: If something causes a mess or gets in the way, just kill them??!! They see enough of that in their video games.
Aren't we supposed to be teaching them tolerance, kindness, and humanity? When we investigate the backgrounds of abusive adults, one thing discovered is that as children, they were mean to animals, torturing them while watching them suffer. Do we really need to see a community display that encourages animal cruelty? Geese live where there's water and that's a fact of nature and this IS Long Island.
Let's find a more humane way of solving the problem. Think of the message this action sends. It's not just about the birds. - Victoria M. Abellana
This letter was written in response to the question of the week:
No, Canada geese should not be rounded up and killed. Obviously, such slaughters don't resolve the problem because new geese inevitably replace those that were slaughtered. Aside from being a barbaric ritual, killing them year after year just doesn't make any sense, and is hardly the kind of lesson we want to pass onto our children. (I always thought we were supposed to share the planet with other creatures, not hog it all to ourselves.)
There are more humane ways to resolve goose/human conflicts. You're not far from at least several communities -- neighboring Manhasset and Greenwich (Ct.) -- that are working with Geesepeace to resolve such conflicts. Perhaps you should contact them.
I live in a small community where our lake is populated by both resident and migratory geese -- and we can't imagine life without our geese. City personnel remove goose droppings during mid-week cleanups, and sidewalks are frequently meticulous. Some of it is even left on the ground as a fertilizer. If there's additional poop during molting season, we organize poop patrols and clean it up ourselves. (Unlike dog poop, their poop has no odor because it's made up of recycled grass and thus is basically harmless, so it's no big deal.)
What makes some communities more tolerant of geese than others? Perhaps that's an issue worth exploring. What you're really talking about changing here are attitudes, learning to live peacefully and amicably with other creatures, especially those who are so like us themselves. Canada geese mate for life, have a strong sense of family and the parents raise their young together. It's hard to justify killing them off - Mary Lou Simms. Please CLICK HERE to read Mary Lou's story and photos of the geese in her community.
These letters were published in the Islip Bulletin in response to their question of the week:
SHOULD WILDLIFE SUCH AS GEESE BE ROUNDED UP AND KILLED IF THEY OVERPOPULATE A COMMUNITY?
1. Should the human animal be rounded up and killed if they overpopulate a geese community? - Marianne Dominy
2. There are many ways to control the geese in our local parks and communities without slaughter. Creating an unfavorable environment for them, for instance. I know some communities will not allow dogs in a park yet pay a private agency to run theirs to rid the geese.
For this to be effective it must be done constantly. Why not let residents bring their dogs and get a free service? That would create an unfavorable environment for the geese and much needed exercise for our beloved family pets.
Let me also say we live on an ISLAND surrounded by water that brings us waterfowl. Let's remember to be thankful for the natural beauty that surrounds us and accept the good and bad that go with it. - Kathleen Dominy
3. Definitely not. First, this is a loaded question. Some people love geese and some people hate geese. For people who hate geese, one Canada goose is one too many.
For those of us who love geese, there is no overpopulation. Geese have a desire to survive. They realize an area is getting crowded with other geese. They need to compete for food sources. Often they will destroy the nests of competing geese in these situations.
Hence, true biological overpopulation is impossible. Canada geese are beautiful creatures. They are intelligent, brave, and extremely loyal to their "spouses" and family. Killing them will be cruel and it will make Brightwaters appear as a backward reactionary community - Earl Rosenbloom
4. It is shocking and appalling that geese and other wildlife should be rounded up and killed if they overpopulate a community. First of all, what is the definition of overpopulation? 200 geese? How about 5,000? Some people would consider a hundred or less to be overpopulation because to those people, one is too many.
Have we considered that the animals lived on the land first before we came along, tore their homes apart, and built our homes and cities on their homes?
We are not gods of nature. Everything on earth has a rightful reason for being here and it is not up to us to round them up and kill them because there are too many of them. - Choo Choo Love
5. Theirs is not a "hanging" crime, just nature that has been tampered with by man. You might look into prosecuting the agency people who "placed" geese in areas where they never lived before, all for the benefit of hunters, who are going extinct, themselves. Take some responsibility and create responsible solutions, not killing. - Kathryn Burton
6. I am horrified that there is another thought of slaughtering the geese. It is disgraceful to even think of killing these beautiful, innocent birds. There must be another way, even addling the eggs would be more merciful than killing the existing birds.
They are beautiful birds and although some people complain about their droppings they do not have any odor since they are vegetarians! Leave them alone!! Mayor McNulty of Brightwaters should be ashamed of his past actions. - Dottie Ward
The overpopulation of any wildlife is directly or indirectly from the hands of man. Geese are intelligent and compassionate. Where is our compassion?
Slaughering innocent animals time after time obviously doesn't work and therefore, is not the solution. Earth has tolerated a lot from man - perhaps it's time we learned the meaning of patience and tolerance. How do these hunters, with blood on their hands, sleep at night? - Debbie Gribben
7. I am totally against killing off Canada geese. I have a strong love for Canada geese. They are God's creatures, and they have as much right to be here as we do. Please don't kill them off. Let them live. - Joan DeVizia
8. You are so lucky that Canadian geese have chosen to live in Brightwaters. Unfortunately, these magnificent birds do not visit Australia. Contemplating their extermination is an attitude from a bygone era and totally barbaric, especially as other humane methods have been used elsewhere to deal with the problem. Besides, killing the birds will only leave a void, which other birds will fill. - Lynn Trakell
9. Slaughter geese? What's next, slaughtering people if an area is overpopulated? Why is killing the only option? - Vivienne Achiner
Donna Hooker from Oregon wrote this letter in response to the question of the week. Unfortunately, her letter was not published because she sent it in too late. However, we'll publish it here:
Please stop the killing of the geese. In our city, we educate children and adults on migratory birds. We have hundreds every year that come home and breed. We have what is called THE WINTER WINGS FESTIVAL, MIGRATORY BIRD DAY IN THE PARK, etc. to educate people on the migratory birds and their life in the wild. It is wonderful. We don't kill them. So cruel, especially when they are molting and cannot fly. Would you do that to people when the town is overpopulated!
We have several wetlands here in Oregon and tours to go out and photograph them in the wild. People need to be educated, seriously, about the beautiful Canada geese and other migratory birds. They are very social, loving, smart geese. I have raised one since she was a two-day old gosling. She is a little celebrity in our town, very imprinted on us. Her name is Tooties and you can read her story on www.LoveCanadaGeese.com on TOOTIES' PAGE.
When you are up close and personal to a Canada goose, you learn a lot. Tooties is 7 years old. People need to know that they have feelings, too, and are in pain when they are hurt or injured. I just don't understand why such a cowardly killing should take place. They are only doing what nature has intended them to do. People should take the time and look at them as a beautiful bird of nature instead of a nuisance to society. It breaks my heart to think that this is something people do instead of interacting with them and photographing them instead of killing them.
I am also a wildlife artist and I paint migratory birds. They are just so beautiful. Education is needed in that town. Please don't let this happen to these beautiful birds. - Donna Hooker, Oregon.
On March 2, 2006, we received this urgent message from Carol Bondy. Ms. Bondy is a resident of Brightwaters who has worked tirelessly to try and save the geese:
Brightwaters Village Hall Mayor Joseph McNulty 40 Seneca Drive Brightwaters, NY 11718
July 3, 2005
More than 60 Canada geese have been rounded up and killed in the Village of Brightwaters in the past 10 days.
On Thursday, 13 geese were gassed one week after another 50 were rounded up, loaded into a truck and killed.
"It's very sad that the village has taken this piece of nature away from us," said Carol Bondy, a Brightwaters resident, who often has geese wander onto her lawn.
In the past two years, about 100 of the 150 geese in the area have been removed through the roundups and the destruction of their eggs, according to Lionel Puton of Goose Control Inc., the Port Washington-based firm hired by the village to reduce the population.
Goose Control has served other municipalities before. In 2002, it rounded up and slaughtered 700 geese in Belmont Lake State Park, Puton said.
The firm has about 10 clients per year, from municipalities to corporations.
Carmine M. Alfano, an outgoing village trustee who has fielded resident complaints, said the state Department of Environmental Conservation required the village to reduce the population[CORRECTION: The state Department of Environmental Conservation does not require municipalities to reduce their Canada goose populations. It issues a required permit to kill the geese, after permits are obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to Bill Fonda, citizen participant specialist with the DEC in Stony Brook. A story Sunday on goose control in the Village of Brightwaters mischaracterized the agency's role. pg. A19 NS 07/07/05] because the geese are defecating in the village's five lakes.
"Why didn't they relocate them?" said Barbara Herd, a village resident. "Why do they need to exterminate them?"
Nick Maglaras, president of Goose Control, said relocating the birds is ineffective because they keep coming back. Therefore, the company often sends them to a slaughterhouse and donates the geese to shelters.
The state required the program because the lakes flow into the Great South Bay, where it fears shellfish beds will be contaminated by the feces, Alfano said.
Each goose on average leaves 2 pounds of droppings per day, which increases coliform bacteria counts in the water, Puton said.
The roundup caught many residents by surprise. One resident was alarmed when she saw the Goose Control truck drive by with the birds' heads trying to poke out of the cages.
Residents say village officials failed to notify them of the geese-reduction program. Many called village hall to complain, and sought the help of animal rights groups to protest.
Alfano said he informed the public about the program at village meetings. However, only about 15 members of the public typically attend meetings, he added.
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