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C.A.S.H. Letters to the Editor > 2004

C.A.S.H. Letters

ADDRESS THE CAUSE OF TOO MANY GEESE

Letter to the Editor re Goose Slaughter in Downingtown letters@phillynews.com
3 July 2004

I’ve had the dubious “privilege” of attending what are called “Atlantic Flyway” conferences, and on occasion “Joint Conferences of the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways.” The conferences are comprised of waterfowl managers from states along a "flyway," or a vertical flight corridor from the north to the south. A “flyway” is not really the way birds fly, as you might suspect. Birds also fly from east to west and back again. A “flyway” is simply a construct for the cooperation of wildlife managers to keep large, huntable flocks of Canada geese in their states. Canada geese are the “products” of goose “management”; consequently, municipalities and geese alike become their victims.

Listen clearly, it is the management for the hunting of geese that is the cause of the suburban and urban flocks. Consider that Canada geese were wiped out prior to the 1960’s. When several goose eggs were discovered, it led to geese being artificially reared at wildlife management areas, and the goslings were taken to various states to fledge. The idea was that they would return from whence they fledged.

After learning about the heart-wrenching “roundup” of geese, I checked my Pennsylvania maps and discovered that the Borough of Downingtown is, for a Canada goose, a mere hop, skip, and a jump from Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The website of this WMA boasts 5,000 acres where the Pennsylvania Game Commission “protects, propagates, manages, preserves, and controls the harvest of wildlife.” The area includes a 400-acre shallow water lake and 70-acre impoundment for ducks, geese, and swans. No doubt, this plays a role in the federal North American Waterfowl Management plan that mandates the management of ducks, geese, and swans for extremely high populations for hunters.

Managers really don’t want geese in populated areas where they can’t be hunted. In fact, they are “useless” to them as profitable targets. Yet, due to hunting, and the management for hunting, more and more geese are “grown” who later seek refuge from the shot in the management areas. Think of these geese as refugees from the management areas. They are seeking relief in our suburban and urban areas. No doubt, what helps them to settle comfortably are all the goose salad bars that meticulous municipal parks departments and lawn caretakers unwittingly put out for them.

I have also witnessed planning sessions between wildlife services and a few individuals who want geese destroyed in which the public relations ploy of “donating Canada goose flesh to the poor” was concocted. They were giggling over the effect of having the goose killing perceived as a magnanimous deed.

We congratulate Mr. Nagel for speaking out against this ill-advised scheme. When Canada goose flesh has been tested, it has been found that the lead levels far exceed what would be fit for human consumption. When this first came to light in NY, sadly, the NYS Dept. of Health held secret meetings with game agents, and later approved of the flesh. Please see our website posting regarding this: http://www.all-creatures.org/cash/cc97fa-doh.html

It’s pathetic that we’re continually addressing the effect of the cause.

As I see it, there are several ways to stop the growth of the Canada goose population:

1) Stop the trapping and killing of the natural predators of geese, goslings, and eggs. Among those predators are raccoons, skunks, possums, and snapping turtles.

2) Stop the management of Canada geese for hunting. That may be accomplished fast if municipalities and private communities brought class action lawsuits against state wildlife management divisions and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

We'd be more than happy to help. Further, if a “poor” person who has received this flesh develops tremors, experiences loss of memory, or confusion, please contact us so we can put you in touch with a good attorney.

Finally, shame on Steve Sullins, Downingtown Borough Manager, for knowing that landscaping changes, and a few non-lethal methods would have prevented all the heartbreak, pain and death.


Anne Muller, President

C.A.S.H. – Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting, Inc.


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E-mail: cash@cashwildwatch.org
Anne Muller - President

 

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