Campaign seeks to stop city from
killing birds it sees as health risk
By MATTHEW CRAFT
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
Wearing a brown 7-foot goose costume, Bob Chorush
waddled around Westlake Park yesterday afternoon, shaking hands
with children and trying to draw attention to the coming Canada-goose
Chorush, the head of Give Geese a Chance, is one
of many animal rights activists who want to stop Seattle Parks
and Recreation's roundup and gassing of Canada geese.
Lately his group has stepped up its efforts. They
put the home telephone number of the superintendent of the park
department, Ken Bounds, on a banner and hung it from the pedestrian
overpass at the end of the West Seattle Bridge. They staged small
protests outside his house.
"We're going to start goosing the mayor over
this," Chorush said. "I'm honking mad. I think it's a
travesty to kill wildlife in this city. We have so few wild animals
anymore, and the ones we have, we're killing them."
Chorush said his group has around 160 volunteers
who take shifts at local parks, watching for U.S. Department of
Agriculture employees who gather up the geese.
Last year, the volunteers sat in kayaks and speedboats
and tried to chase geese away from the shore -- and certain death.
At Westlake Center yesterday, representatives from
PAWS used a video screen to show footage of the goose hunt.
One agent tossed bread toward a gaggle. The geese
left the water and were herded into a cage. The workers grabbed
the geese by the neck and stuffed them into a gas chamber sitting
in the bed of a truck.
"They should stop it because it doesn't work," said
Jennifer Hillman, a legislative coordinator for PAWS, "and
because it's inhumane."
A better way, Hillman said, would be to focus on
addling and to discourage the birds from eating short grass by
erecting barriers at the water's edge.
PAWS has been working with the local Humane Society
to shift the park department's methods toward addling. They say
geese should be handled like dogs and cats.
"We see it as a spay-and-neuter issue," Hillman
The park department sent out a letter earlier this
year to people who own property along fresh water, Potter said.
It asked them to call the Department of Agriculture if they found
a nest, and agents would come out and addle the eggs.
"We have great faith in the addling method," Potter