What do to with a murdered goose: eat it! Obviously!  »

New York City is set to kill a bunch of geese, again. This year, however, instead of gassing them and throwing their bodies in a landfill, NYC made a deal with a Pennsylvania slaughterhouse to truck the geese there, where they’ll be killed, processed, and sent to Pennsylvania food banks.

According to the New York Times, “much of the outcry” came from not anger at killing the geese last year, but that “literally tons of tasty, high-protein free-range meat (an adult goose can weigh 25 pounds) [was left] to rot in garbage heaps.” Yeah! I remember, um, none of that. Maybe it’s true, though—maybe In Defense of Animals is super-angry because the goose meat was wasted. It’s definitely not because geese that have lived in human-populated areas are unfit for human consumption, full of “PCBs, pesticides, and heavy metals.” And the geese chilling in Prospect Park right now because they are molting and therefore “temporarily unable to fly” are definitely huge threats to airplanes.

Delicious, dangerous geese: destroy and devour! What choice does New York have? Obviously none, or else this wouldn’t be happening. Right?

[photo by TexasEagle on Flickr]


Prospect Park goose slaughter continues  »

File under things to actually get mad about: New York City is set to kill more Canada geese in Prospect Park again this year. Last year, they killed hundreds without telling anyone but people noticed the geese were gone and it came out. This year, they’ve hired a “biologist” who, as the Brooklyn Paper describes it, is a gun-toting sharpshooter. Damn. Do people really go into biology thinking they will eventually be a goose sniper? Last year, they gassed the geese, they will probably do that again. I can’t imagine it will be straight-up Duck Hunt out there.

The city’s reason for killing the geese this year and last year is that they say the geese pose a risk to airplanes. Originally, they were killing birds within a five mile radius of the airport but they expanded the area to include Prospect Park, which is seven miles away. Why? I don’t know. People that oppose the mass goose murder say that 1. there are more humane ways to control the goose population and 2. the geese in Prospect Park are permanent residents now and don’t migrate north for the winter, so they aren’t the geese a plane would come in contact with.

Friends of Animals contends that the real issue for the USDA is the goose droppings. WTF? And here’s an appalling quote from Friends of Animals: “Mayor Bloomberg oversaw the gassing of 1,676 geese in city parks throughout the five boroughs last summer. A USDA report revealed that 89 percent of geese observed at sites throughout New York City and western Nassau have been killed.” God damn.

I’ll try to find more ways to help but for the time being, here’s what you can do:

Tell Mayor Bloomberg and city officials: Stop the killing and harassment of Canada Geese.

Contact Mayor Bloomberg to oppose the slaughter and harassment of geese in New York City:

  • If you live in New York City, you can call the Mayor’s office at 311.
  • Outside of New York City, call 212-NEW-YORK.
  • Fax a message: 212-788-8123.
  • Send an email to the Mayor.

[Photo of geese in Prospect Park by Robert Judge]


Goslings in Prospect Park, filmed by Seth Kaplan

According to everyone’s favorite, the New York Times, 400 Canada geese* that lived in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park were euthanized last Thursday. I am not kidding! They GASSED them! Sick! Then people going to the park were like, WTF happened to the geese? Finally the city was like, we totally killed 400 of them and didn’t tell you. Why did they kill them? Because they are worried the geese will fly into engines and crash planes. All the fear comes from a plane that had to land in the Hudson because of geese in January 2009. But guess what! THOSE geese were not any of the resident geese! According to local teacher and my new favorite person, Seth Kaplan: “It’s really important to remember that the Canada geese that collided with Flight 1549 were tested by researchers at the Smithsonian and they were not populations that lived in our area,” and they say most of the Prospect Park geese are probably residents. Apparently there are two types of the Canada geese: ones that fly north for the summer and ones that are permanent city-folk, but they can’t really tell them apart. So they just kill them all.

Because I am a genius scientist, I did some research on “bird strikes”—that’s what they call it when a bird hits a plane. That makes it sound like some Disney movie about a rag-tag team of military birds. Slate has a great article about Everything you need to know about bird strikes, water landings, and other airplane emergencies.” They say that generally, nothing happens when a bird hits a plane. According to, “Over 9,000 bird and other wildlife strikes were reported for USA civil aircraft in 2009,” of which 31 percent were geese.

[Megan Rascal note: I had to edit this whole part because I totally fucked up the data analysis! My bad] There were 9,000 wildlife strikes but an actual crash from a bird strike is very rare. Since 1955, there have been 54 crashes due to bird strikes. So in one year there were 2,790 bird strikes by geese, but in 55 years, there were only 54 crashes (due to bird strikes in general, not just geese).

I don’t want anyone to die from bird strikes, but why are birds so high on the list of priorities when it comes to airplane safety? There are also other things they can do besides gassing 400 geese. One theory for an increasing number of bird strikes is that planes are quieter than they use to be; they should make planes really loud! There are also other methods to reducing the goose population, like not allowing all the goose eggs to hatch. They can find the eggs and paint them with corn oil, which stops the eggs from hatching. Gassing 400 geese just seems like the last solution on earth! I know geese are mean, but they have a right to live in peace.

*Did you know it’s Canada geese and not Canadian geese? Blow my mind why don’t you!

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