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The Insane Cost of Killing New York City's Geese

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The Insane Cost of Killing New York City's Geese

From GooseWatch NYC
January 2013

But if you talk to the USDA they really seem to think what they are doing is for the benefit of humanity. Does anyone feel any safer?

No question, we'd be against the killing of the geese even if it was done for free by a private company. But the cost to New York City taxpayers to hire USDA Wildlife Services from June 2011 - June 2012 was $66,796. The USDA rounded up 290 geese from New York City properties in last summer in June, which doesn't include the 711 geese killed at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge which is federal property (paid for by the NY / NJ Port Authority, also using tax dollars). Therefore, USDA collected $230 per goose in 2012. If you include the 209 geese killed in July 2011, this brings the average down to $144 per goose killed during the contract year. In the four summers the USDA has been killing geese in NYC parks, we have paid them $166,866 to date to kill 3,776 geese, which equals $44 for each goose killed. The cost allotted to killing geese this and next summer is $141,716 The contract between the City and USDA Wildlife Services is currently set to expire on June 30, 2014.

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There is no credible basis for the idea that killing geese will result in less collisions. Such views amount to mere opinions by "expert" USDA wildlife bioloigists, in fact, if you read the contract closely, there are many examples of baseless claims and inconsistencies. The USDA write the reports that justify killing geese, and then solicit work contracts to kill the geese. This is a blatant conflict of interest. Nothing has changed the fact that the geese which collided with Miracle on the Hudson were DNA tested to be migratory geese from Labrador, Canada.

goose geese Canada geese cullMillions of birds are passing through our region this time of year (or at least they are supposed to be). Killing molting geese in the summer does nothing to address the risks posed by collisions with birds migrating in January. As the contracts reveal, the USDA gives up on geese in small flocks if they can not be captured "easily and economically" - are the geese they don't kill somehow less likely to fly into a flight path? Cruelty aside, there just doesn't to be any sense to the current strategy to improve air safety, and aviation experts agree.

Mind you, the leading causes by far of fatal plane crash accidents are pilot error (50%), mechanical error (22%) and weather (12%), less than 1% can be attributed to the entire category of wildlife. Now the city is building two Marine Waste Transfer stations in plain sight of LaGuardia Airport; with claims the FAA is violating their own standards for wildlife hazard management, against the advice of veteran aviation experts, and even Capt. Sully Sullenberger has been speaking out against the placement of these facilities. Furthermore, with the kind of traffic and industrial waste that is planned to be going to the Manhattan location every day, many believe the transfer station will wreak havoc on a dense neighborhood, with health consequences to people and companion animals.

But if you talk to the USDA they really seem to think what they are doing is for the benefit of humanity. Does anyone feel any safer?