Wednesday, June 22, 2011

GooseWatch Update

This is it... the home stretch. Supposedly the USDA Wildlife Services has begun or will imminently begin rounding up geese around New York City parks this week. They won't confirm or deny.

22 Canada Geese in Prospect Park as of this morning.

Meanwhile, GooseWatch is in full effect. We are holding down the fort at Prospect Park. We have been and will be out there every night for as long as we need to be. We're a little sleep deprived. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the effort.

GooseWatch's goal is simply to be awake and present and if nothing else bear witness to what is going to be done under the cover of darkness when the park is closed to the public, while we were asleep a year ago. We are still looking for people who can assist and want to be involved.

People have expressed concerns, but I assure that the plans for our activities are going to be conducted legally. It's possible we will not be able to save the geese, but we will try. One need not be concerned about getting arrested unless that person desires to break the law, which will not be necessary for most participants. Perhaps some may choose to break the law in some way, hopefully if it means being able to save the geese, a) I would morally support such actions if no person was hurt and geese were saved as a result, b) I don't see how I could stop them.

Please let me know if you are interested in participating and would like more details about the stake out, or you can help out in a lot of other ways:

-- Join the Stake Out Team. We have formed a group to stake out the park through the night. The USDA is likely to come during the next 10 days, through June 30, sometime between 12am and 6am. We'll be there every night, but we need more people. We especially need people who can come after 4am. Requires standing outside the park and keep watch of the lake & geese using binoculars. It's fun, but tiring (especially if like many of us you have a day job). Please let me know if you would like more info.

-- Come to the park for a midnight protest when the USDA arrives. When the USDA comes we have 100 people on speed dial that want to be called. Most live within 10 minutes from the park. When we spot the USDA, we will send out a message by phone and email with instructions for where everyone should meet. It will not be a test. Please send your phone number if you want to be called.

The contact email is

Here are some other ways you can help:

-- SIGN THIS PETITION. Let Mayor Bloomberg know you are against needless goose slaughter.

-- Print the flier below and help put them up around the neighborhood shops.

-- PROTEST/FLYER TO SAVE OUR CANADA GEESE - THURSDAY, JUNE 23RD 12:30-2:30 P.M. OUTSIDE CITY HALL. Come Flyer/Protest with us to SAVE CANADA GEESE Bring signs, pictures. We will provide flyers. LOCATION: Broadway at Murray Street (Across from 250 Broadway at Entrance to City Hall) -- Contact NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and make clear your opposition to the slaughter of the geese and their babies in Prospect Park and the rest of New York City.

-- Call 311 and lodge a "Complaint" with the mayor's office. Tell the operator you want to “leave a comment for the Mayor”; then ask Mayor Bloomberg to implement polices that respect, tolerate, and promote peaceful co-existence with our urban wildlife, and to END the goose-killing contact with the USDA. Do identify yourself as a New York City resident. Your comments will be recorded compiled and sent to the Mayor.

-- In addition to calling 311 to register a comment to Mayor Bloomberg asking him to cancel the slaughter contact for NYC's Canada Geese for this year and forever, you can also call 212.788.3000. This is the direct number for the Mayor's Office at City Hall. Make sure the person answering the phone takes down your name and where you live. Be clear and polite in communicating your outrage over this wildlife slaughter and be sure to state your wish for an END to these kind of kill contracts with the USDA. Those calling from outside New York City, dial 212-NEW-YORK and follow the same directions above.

-- New York City Residents can also call their NYC Council Member representative and urge them to press the Mayor to protect the Canada geese and all our urban wildlife. All citizens can contact their elected representatives at every level, and let them know you care what happens to the geese.

-- Request to join the Facebook group "For the love of the geese in Prospect Park"

-- Visit a park near you where there are geese, and see how they are doing. There might be cute goslings there this time of year.

A brief word about the need for this effort. The USDA is looking for 1,000 birds to kill in NYC this summer, and use the meat to feed the needy. Please visit the website Prospect Park Quiet Skies, read FAQ #15. Also, the USDA report of 2010 round ups show that many sites with less than 20 geese were hit by the USDA killers. Some of these sites were completely cleared out. We hope not, but sincerely do not rule out the likelihood that USDA is coming back to PP.

It still makes absolutely no sense to me why the contract with the USDA is being carried out. There are sound arguments to be presented against every single claims I have heard for why we need to kill geese. The burden of proof seems to rest on the advocates of geese to show that there are better solutions, rather than on the government to demonstrate that there are no other solutions. This may be a point of bitter contention, but in light of the many alternative options to slaughter, I do not see how this burden has been met by the government or public.

The Prospect Park Goose Advocates have been trying for a year to find out what determines an "acceptable" number of geese. Is 30 too many? If so, I really find it hard to believe that 1 isn't too many. I think if they come for the geese in Prospect Park and other locations outside the 7 mile radius, it will demonstrate that this has little to do with air safety or human health and is about meeting a quota. There are 20 or so geese at the park now. Let them live. It's their park too.

(Photo credit Theresa Galvin - June 12, 2011)

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