Geese are Safe
Sent to the Asbury Park Press - 12/11/03
A recent letter by Donald Rabig fans the flames of
hysteria regarding Canada Geese and the spread of disease. In an attempt to paint
Geese as dangerous to human health, Mr. Rabig resorts to the same old tired
scare tactic of using children to get his point across. When the truth
about geese is understood, parents are assured that engaging in the game
of soccer is far more dangerous than what is on the grass.
Canada geese have been vilified as filthy birds who spread
disease, but this could not be further from the truth. Dr. Timothy Ford,
professor at the Harvard School of Public Health states: "In my mind, there
is no possibility that the Canada goose will ever be a major
route of (Cryptosporidium) infection." Cryptosporidium is the
bacterium that is widely blamed as the bridge between goose feces and
disease in humans. Dr. Milton Friend, former director of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service's Wildlife Research Center on Water Fowl Disease states: "We
do have a lot of diseases out there that can affect people. Most of them
come from different places and do not come from the Canada goose and I'll
leave you with that."
Public health and disease experts exonerate Canada geese
of playing a role in the transmission of diseases to humans. It is time the
public recognized that fact.
Canada geese are among the most misunderstood waterfowl.
After finding a life mate, mated pairs raise and protect their young
together and will also look out for one another for as long as they live. Those
who have spent time observing geese will tell you that these very
emotional, intelligent and extremely devoted creatures deeply mourn not only the
loss of their mates, but also the destruction of their eggs.
Geese are now part of the suburban landscape and when we
learn to co-exist peacefully with them, it enhances our appreciation of
wildlife and the natural world. Perpetuating mistruths about geese does no
one any good.
Joe Miele, Vice President
Wildlife Watch, Inc.