Image: passer-by via flickr
New York City has just started another round of killing hundreds of geese, at taxpayer expense, despite that the cull has so far failed to limit geese population growth or improve air safety. The geese culls have not gone over smoothly in past years, but the public seems as upset this year by the lack of transparency behind the decision-making process as it is about the lives of the geese themselves. DEP, the agency orchestrating the effort, had been silent about the plan until it was reported by The New York Times. The decision seems to have been made behind closed doors.
The Humane Society met with DEP recently to press for the agency to not renew the contract this year and to instead look into more humane, effective, and financially sensible alternatives. The agency stayed silent on its plans and seemed to indicate it might not renew the contract, which expires at the end of this month, but based on DEP comments to The Times, it does not sound like there are any plans to stop culling geese after this year.
NYC's Answer to Hunger?
DEP is saying it is a positive step because the dead geese will be fed to hungry people in Pennsylvania, and probably to needy New Yorkers next year. But as one Times commenter wrote, "The choice to slaughter geese for human consumption instead of landfilling their bodies is a false choice and detracts attention from the main issue--whether it is necessary to kill these birds at all... Feeding geese carcasses to the Pennsylvania poor will not resolve these concerns nor will it make a dent in addressing issues of hunger."
DEP spokesman Farrell Sklerov told the New York Times, "we wanted to ensure that our efforts to enhance public safety will also help those in need."
HSUS, however, is uncertain which food banks will even accept the meat for food because they do not consider it safe.
And many are questioning the good intentions that Sklerov has been touting. Another Times commenter wrote, "When members of the public call [Sklerov] and and other agency bureaucrats (as I did) to ask questions of whether geese will be killed this year and where, we are told to call someone else or that they 'don't think' any cullings will take place."