Feds gather Vannie’s geese for slaughter


Van Cortlandt Park’s goose population is smaller, but the Canadian honkers haven’t flown north for the summer. The federal Department of Agriculture has removed 27 Canadian geese from the park and its golf course.  The removal was part of an effort by the department to reduce concentrations of geese that could pose a hazard to aviation in the New York City area.  

The department inspects locations within a seven-mile radius of any New York Port Authority airport and determines if the fowl population there is dangerous enough to warrant removal.  Inspections typically take place during the spring and in early June and are usually focused on New York City parks and golf courses.  

The criteria that determine the level of risk in any given area were developed by the New York City Airports Wildlife Hazard Management Steering Committee, which was formed in 2009 to coordinate Canadian geese and other wildlife mitigation efforts in the New York Metropolitan area.  

Any property inspected within five miles of an airport with ten or more geese is considered eligible for the operation, and any property inspected between five to seven miles is considered eligible with twenty or more geese.  

However, The USDA inspectors take a number of factors into account when determining the level of danger in the area.  “It’s a combination of things that make up hazard,” said Carol Bannerman, spokesperson for the USDA Animal and Plant Heath Inspection Service,  “That is the number of geese observed, their impact on the park itself, the capacity for it to become a hazard, as well as any efforts that would discourage an abundance of geese at the park.”  Such efforts on the part of the parks can create flexibility for the inspectors’ decision.

The USDA must obtain a permit from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service before beginning their removal.  The geese lose their flight feathers for a period of a month while molting.  

During this process, on the week of June 17th, the geese were herded into a temporarily fenced area and placed into poultry crates.  The geese were then sent to poultry processing plants throughout the area and were ultimately donated to food charities in the area.  

The USDA revealed neither what poultry processing plants were used nor what charities were being donated to.  

Some activist groups, including Goosewatchnyc, are concerned that the goose meat may be contaminated, saying that geese eat New York City park grass, which is regularly sprayed with pesticides.  

Although the New York State Department of Health has done studies suggesting that there are no risks related to consuming goose meat, state fishing and waterfowl advisories recommend consuming no more than two geese per month according to goosewatchnyc.com.  

Gooswatchnyc is an organization devoted to educating the public on the use of their tax dollars to remove wildlife from New York Public Parks, said founder and director David Karopkin.   

“Geese are being scapegoated and killed for reasons that don’t measure up to common sense, let alone science,” said Karopkin.  “The science the USDA uses to justify their actions are reports they themselves write.”  

Karopkin has also said that some aviation specialists have begun to support his cause, contradicting reasons previously given by the USDA for the project.

Goosewatchnyc had its beginnings in the spring 2011 after the killing of  about 300 geese from Prospect Park in 2010.  

After a short two months, dozens of geese returned to fill the vacancy left in the habitat, and in order to avoid another massacre, Karopkin organized a group to watch over the park, which evolved into Goosewatchnyc.  

John Young, local bird enthusiast, has been watching birds in Van Cortlandt Park for several decades and has also pointed out the seemingly futile nature of the USDA’s plan.  

He responded to the removal of the geese, saying, “I was there this morning, (July 15th) a dozen were back.  I can guarantee a thousand will be back by December.” 

Last year, Van Cortlandt Park did not meet the level of danger specified by the USDA.  However, geese were removed from the park in both 2010 and 2011.  

Bannerman pointed to Riker’s island as an example of the tactics’ success.  Since the department first started removing geese from the island in 2004, the number of geese to be removed has decreased steadily.  Furthermore, there have only been two geese struck by aircraft at LaGuardia International Airport since removal began, according to Bannerman.  

Bryant Shapiro, the New York State Director of the Humane Society of the United States, advocates non-lethal solutions to the problem including addling the eggs with oil, which would dissuade geese from settling there and using trained dogs to frighten the geese away.  The Humane Society helps communities establish long-term solutions to this problem.  

“Human safety is of the greatest importance,” said Shapiro, “that’s why we want solutions that work, are effective, and not just over-simplified reactions.”  

Although he admits that the threat to aircraft is a real one, Karopkin also insists the USDA and New York City has the wrong solution.  “The city is trying to show that they are doing something about the threat to airplanes.  This does not mean killing geese is the solution.”  

“You cannot kill your way out of this problem,” he added


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Why does the media continually use the word "removed"? They are NOT removed! They are not sent somewhere else to live out their lives.

They are KILLED - using taxpayer dollars.

These birds are rounded up during their flightless stage, along with their goslings, tossed into turkey crates, piled high upon each other. The parents are separated from their offspring and given that these birds are incredibly devoted parents, the stress of this alone is inhumane. They are then trucked hundreds of miles, usually in stifling heat to a "processing"plant.

If they are not slaughtered they are gassed and for waterfowl this is especially cruel given that they are able to hold their breath for an extended length of time, increasing their suffering as they battle for the last breath of air in the gas chamber. Witnesses have actually heard the geese thumping against the walls of these chambers.

WHAT A TERRIBLE MESSAGE we are sending to the children of our communities. In light of all the recent and continued violence in or world, it is too bad that communities who continue to waste taxpayer dollars on these continued roundups would rather be known for their killing fields than for it's compassion

The continued slaughter of our wildlife with our tax dollars must end.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This is an appalling practice that must be stopped. These geese pose NO public safety threat. They are resident geese who do not fly in airline flight paths. Flight 1549 (Miracle on the Hudson) struck and killed migratory birds in January. Migratory birds fly in flocks large enough to damage airplane engines - airline engines are built to 'ingest' birds in small numbers. Resident geese neither fly at these high altitudes nor do they fly in the numbers that will pose a danger. Thus, the USDA is purely a mercenary organization using taxpayer money to kill our wildlife. What a shame.

It is humans who are the nuisance and a grave danger to the geese, not the other way around.

Frankly put, geese poop on the grass; humans shit on everything.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This is disgusting and shame on news media for missing the story. Why, again, must we read another fluff piece that publishes USDA Wildlife Services propaganda without bothering to even read it or appraise it, and uses loaded language such as "removed" and "euthanized" without understanding the level of associated bias? This is a cash-for-killing scheme and it has been exposed. Why not report it? The Sac Bee should be in line for a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on this hideous extermination agency that killed ~25,000 Canada geese for profit in 2012, not to mention millions of other animals of every kind imaginable--even dogs and cats.

Bannerman is the most despicable of the USDA liars, and her litany of nonsense keeps getting reported. She has said they USDA wants to "minimize stress" to these innocent geese; why, then, do USDA paid killers stuff the terrified geese and goslings into cramped plastic crates on the hottest days of the year, and truck them off for an hours-long journey to a slaughterhouse? That is, when the USDA isn't suffocating these waterfowl--who, because they hold their breath so well, suffer greatly and die a torturous, slow death by asphyxiation when gassed.

this is just so heinous and you will find that when people learn the truth, they are horrified. I think the article readership would jump and you'd have a hot story on your hands by reporting the real story. Look at what happened with the USDA's stealth massacre of 100 geese in Chattanooga last week--people were incensed to find out the truth, and WRCB said this was a top story for days.

Because people are not generally pleased to learn of this taxpayer-funded killing program.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

There are many alternatives to slaughtering the geese. They are so mistreated while rounding them up, crating them and gassing them that the Humane Society has gotten involved. Canada geese are beautiful creatures that mate for life and care for their young. Imagine the horror of having their family dynamic devastated by the USDA. Everyone involved in this horrific round up should be held accountable for murdering these innocent animals.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

As an animal lover, I've launched this petition to protect these innocent animals. I'm asking people to join me in challenging the Federal Government's practice of selectively killing these beautiful birds. As human's, it's our responsibility to protect other species and I started this campaign to stand up for these senseless and cruel actions.

Killing Canada geese in the name of air safety is inherently flawed. Research shows that the most effective programs use long-term, non-lethal strategies that reduce or remove the physical conditions that attract particular species to an airport. There is also no scientific basis that geese dropping pose a threat to human health.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

This practice of killing our wildlife is not only cruel and senseless, it is totally ineffective as a means of dealing with bird strike issues at airports. Humane, effective alternatives exist. I object to my tax dollars being used for this purpose.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

As soon as i read the phrase "The Canadian honkers haven’t flown north for the summer." I knew how informative OR NOT this article would be.

THEY ARE NOT CANADIAN. They are AMERICAN. AND they are the result of your government wildlife agencies DECADES-LONG EFFORTS efforts to increase the Canada goose population in NY and Atlantic Flyway states.

And instead of being an empty mouth piece for Carol Bannerman and the USDA try doing some research....give us some STATS to show killing geese has decreased bird strikes and has effectively decreased costs to the aviation industry related to birds striking planes. The FACT is you and the USDA cannot provide any because goose killing has accomplished nothing.

Israel’s Birdstrike Control Program on the other hand showed amazing results in birdstrikes and costs related to birdstrikes – it showed an amazing decrease in costs due to birdstrikes from over 10 million a year to 82,000 a year.


Prior to BCP’s involvement with the IAF, average annual damage to IAF aircraft due to birds at the Israeli airbases was roughly US $10.3 million/year!

Since the implementation of bcp’s wildlife management protocols and guidelines more than 9 years ago, the IAF has only suffered a total of us $82,000 in damage combined for all major airbases that have implemented the program (or roughly US $8,400/year).



Accomplishments and reductions in costs as a result of the wildlife control services provided by BCP’s program at Hurlburt Airfield have been dramatic and resulted in being recognized in a variety of awards and acknowledgements of performance. They include:

90% reduction in repair cost for bird strikes; 95% reduction in repair costs due to damaging wildlife strikes at Hurlburt Airfield. Note: Three FY06 damaging bird strikes occurred away from Hurlburt Field over low-level training routes; 80% reduction in pyrotechnic usage; 100% REDUCTION IN NECESSITY FOR LETHAL CONTROL MEASURES (LCM)


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The only airports that round up and kill birds including geese away from the immediate airport land are airports that have the USDA do their wildlife hazard assessments....and of course when the USDA says all this crap and that the geese have to be killed...it is their Wildlife 'Services) that gets the lucrative killing contracts. Other airports DO NOT WASTE their money on this. They have REAL EFFECTIVE wildlife management that does not include killing innocent birds.

And how some of the media keeps perpetuating this BS from the USDA is beyond me. You do yourselves no favors. Fact is, in this case, taxpayers are simply paying to keep the geese off a golf course. It is nothing more than that. They should have their own dog and they should be paying for this themselves.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The USDA WS took 26 geese from this golf course in 2011; they probably took about the same in 2012. So it looks like the geese are being replaced as soon as they are 'removed' and gassed to death. So, tell us again, removing geese that are replaced is accomplishing what again?

This golf course is a goose magnet with its manicured fertilized greens and SHOULD BE REQUIRED to have herd dogs to keep geese from grazing there and nesting and hatching goslings.





Thursday, July 18, 2013

As another commenter posted, this is just another fluff piece for USDA with no effort to report actual facts.

You say, "The Canadian Honkers haven't flown north for the summer."

The one sentence smacks of appaling ignorance. One, because the geese aren't "Canadian" and two, because MOLTING BIRDS CANNOT FLY.

The fact geese cannot fly for six weeks of the year and they have no means to defend themselves makes them easy victims and a "cash cow" for USDA.

As for the nonsense about "air safety" do a little researh before publishing slop.

More than 50% of airline crashes are due to pilot error.

Is USDA proposing to round up airline pilots for "removal" and death?

Less than one percent of plane crashes are due to bird strikes (0.68%) and of this miniscule figure, Canada geese represent just a fraction.

Why don't you write the truth that these birds have been massacred by the thousands because they CAN be and media is willing to act as coverup mouthpiece for the carnage?

Disgraceful on ALL levels.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

As a tax-paying Riverdale resident for 47 years, I vehemently oppose this needless slaughter of VC Park wildlife. I am a regular visitor to the park & pond, and one of the great joys of living in the neighborhood is watching the grace and beauty of our beloved geese & swans. Stop the killing!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The rationale for killing geese around for air safety has no basis in fact whatsoever. None. Our powers that be would like the public to perceive them as DOING SOMETHING to make air travel safer. This will not do that. However, it makes people FEEL safer if they believe the lies and half-truths that articles like this perpetuate. But since when to facts matter, anyway.

Every major aviation expert has spoken against this. There is no other country in the world who slaughters its birds to "protect" planes.

Besides, the birds that a plane MAY collide with would be migratory birds. Flight 1549 hit migratory birds from Canada. Killing every resident goose in NYC would have done very little to avoid a strike along a MIGRATION path.

Will the public believe anything these days? Have we lost all critical thinking skills from watching too much reality tv? Please, get the facts straight. This is a needless slaughter.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

“Taxpayers subsidizing wild life extermination program, probe Shows”

By Mary Lou Simms, McClatchy-Tribune News Service - - This report was made possible by a grant from The Fund for Investigative Journalism in Washington, D.C.


"Geese roundups around airports are for profit, not safety"

........Mary Lou Simms of Helena is a freelance investigative reporter most recently working under a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism in Washington, D.C. She is currently researching bird-strike prevention programs at a dozen airports throughout the U.S


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The media better get on the band wagon because the USDA WS is being exposed and hopefully sooner rather than later and we won't forget the 'reporters' and media outlets that were nothing but mouthpieces for their propaganda.

"They've been at it for almost a century, killing, maiming, poisoning, brutalizing wildlife....and they think they are going to continue getting away with it. A senior Congressman and three former Federal agents take on the US Department of Agriculture, in this new film exposing the government's war on wildlife.

Coming soon: "EXPOSED: USDA's Secret War on Wildlife"

A Predator Defense Film


Thursday, July 18, 2013