Westchester 4 GeesePress Releases
From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Why is the Airport still making bloated payments to USDA while non-profits suffer budget cuts?


February 10, 2016

Kiley Blackman
[email protected]

Why is the Airport still making bloated payments to USDA while non-profits suffer budget cuts? A year after promising change, same conditions prevail, taxpayers on hook for massive USDA payout.

Westchester County, NY - One year ago, several advocacy groups met with Westchester airport officials to propose upgrading their wildlife management program with modern, non-lethal methods such as radar and drones, as is being done successfully in other locations.

They currently rely on a costly lethal contract with USDA/Widllife Services. At that time, officials promised to consider methods the advocates recommended, saying, "Completely eliminating wildlife deaths is one of our goals also," including considering a fake predator bird system which offers a money-back guarantee, is 100% non-lethal, and would save the county thousands of dollars.

See Group asks Westchester Airport to stop killing birds.

See Westchester County Airport mulls more non-lethal options to keep birds away, prevent airstrikes.

However, one year later, it is crystal clear that the airport has no intention of
updating or cutting costs, with Airport Mgr Stephen Ferguson stating "We are happy with the program we have."

More disturbingly, recent FOIL requests have revealed that the airport is paying far more than the average slaughter/disbursal fee of appx. $20,000 each year: The WS airport 'biologist' is paid appx $170,000 per year in addition to the disbursal/slaughter fees – bringing the cost to almost $200,000 per year!

The fee for a service like the fake predator Geesebusters system would would cut that by almost 3/4 – with the additional benefit of being totally non-lethal.

Ferguson did not respond to a recent letter questioning these charges and the refusal to allow Geesebusters to do a demonstration; similar queries have been summarily ignored.

Though the inventor of Geesebusters has repeatedly been turned down for a demonstration, he continues to contact the airport. "I'm still willing to give a demo to the airport. As I explained in the meeting I invented a simply, effective,humane way to control birds," said Rob Guadagno, creator of Geesebusters."

Now is the best time to use it! Migratory birds in big numbers are heading down and you're right in the middle of the flyway! The lake next to your airport is a resting and sleeping spot for them. The airport is only using ground fears, and birds will always return. I use a eagle (fake) which is the only threat to a bird. With multiple set-ups I can cover your entire airport - without killing any birds and for less cost the USDA is charging."

Kiley Blackman, founder of Animal Defenders of Westchester who requested the airport meeting, was dismayed to discover the additional payout and the airport’s avoidance in addressing it:

"We taxpayers are on the hook for this airport excess spending. When non-profits like those that combat child abuse are screaming about losing funding, how does the airport justify paying USDA/Wildlife Services such exorbitant fees when alternatives are available for a fraction of the fee? Not to mention that they've gone back on their promise to utilize modern equipment that is more efficient, less costly and non-lethal. Do they have some vested interest in doing business with Wildlife Services? If not, why are they not even allowing another organization to give a demonstration
and bid?

This is indicated in FAA regulations which call for open bidding for wildlife management, which the airport is not doing – and was raised by former pilot Ken Paskar at the meeting - to the dismay of airport management.”

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