Stop Wal-Mart From Killing Birds

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Status: Current
Originally Posted: 2 December 2008

Stop Wal-Mart From Killing Birds

From Wildlife Watch, Inc.

Ask Wal-Mart to stop killing birds and mammals. Ask them to use companies that use devices to prevent birds and mammals from entering the store and use only non-lethal techniques for removal.

When we first heard the shocking news that Wal-Mart closed their store in Kingston, NY for one hour while captured birds were shot with BB guns, we could hardly believe it, but we investigated: Wildlife Watch spoke with Dave Eaton, Regional Director, in Binghamton, NY whose area includes the Kingston Wal-Mart. He said that the pest control companies they use do what they need to do to rid the store of birds, and that what they do is legal.

We pointed out that since the company was hired by Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart was responsible for the fate of the birds and needed to give directives to the pest-control company about how the captured birds are to be treated.

He continued to repeat the mantra that Wal-Mart’s responsibility is to remove birds and rodents from the store, and that whatever the hired pest control company did was legal. He wouldn’t say what they did, and wouldn’t give the name of the pest control company they use.

This morning, we checked on what is legal for these companies to do. We spoke to Paul Stringer of the Special Licensing Unit of the DEC, Joanne Dyer, Depredation Permit Examiner, of the FWS in Hadley, MA, and Stacy Preusser, Wildlife Specialist of the USDA.

Here’s what they said:

Starlings, sparrows, and pigeons, are “unprotected” species. Other species of birds that get into stores are “protected. “

The only legal difficulty for a store like Wal-Mart or Hannaford is that sometimes protected birds are caught in the nets or just fly around the store. In the instance that was reported, we don’t know if the birds were protected, but read on because it really doesn’t matter….

If protected birds are captured, the USDA requires that Form 37 be filled out by the store, then the USDA makes a recommendation to the FWS to issue a federal permit for the removal of the birds. So even “protected” birds can have their protection rescinded if it’s expedient to do so.

Killing the birds can legally be done in any fashion, though the USDA issues suggestions for what they consider to be humane “euthanasia”: CO2 or “cervical dislocation,” known in common parlance as “breaking their necks”  are just two recommendations made by the USDA.

She said they can use pellet or BB guns though she didn’t think it could be done in the store. The DEC said it would have to be done when no one was in the store. So if they did shoot them with BB guns, they would have cleared the store as was reported.

However, it makes no business sense as Wal-Mart would have lost one hour of business, which could yield hundreds of thousands of dollars. We think that’s a point that can be made to Wal-Mart management to prevent them from closing the store to shoot birds in the future. That will not stop the birds from being killed in other ways, however.

Wal-Mart must start working with humane contractors who use non-lethal methods, but PREVENTION must be implemented.

Wal-Mart is responsive to public pressure as most of the stores in Dave Eaton’s region no longer sell firearms (according to him) but Kingston isn’t one of them.

Dave Eaton can be reached at (607) 798-1011. Ask Wal-Mart to stop killing birds and mammals. Ask them to use companies that use devices to prevent birds and mammals from entering the store and use only non-lethal techniques for removal.

Please sign our petition. We will be letting Wal-Mart know your feelings.

Thank you!

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