Dear Humanitarian in New Jersey:
The highly publicized accident that landed U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after colliding with a flock of geese in January has caused much anxiety throughout the country. Unfortunately, the media failed to highlight how planes are specifically designed to withstand bird strikes. Now, in a desperate attempt to put passengers at ease, New Jersey plans to kill thousands of Canada geese in the next few weeks, rationalizing that the cull will prevent further plane collisions.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the state's plan to trap geese from parks, golf courses and areas near airports in 20 locations within nine counties. According to media reports, the state started trapping geese on June 16. Therefore, it is critical that officials hear from you as soon as possible.
State Officials and the USDA are trapping the geese during their molting season, when the birds are flightless and particularly vulnerable. Once collected, these geese will be gassed to death, yet the slaughter of Canada geese will not prevent future collisions.
The widespread killing will only temporarily reduce the goose population. Canada geese and other animals will move into these spaces around airports because they remain attractive to wildlife.
Instead of killing these animals, New Jersey should make the airport vicinity less inviting to birds through habitat modification, exclusion and hazing, and by controlling their populations through egg addling - the process by which eggs are removed from the nest, embryo development is stopped, and the egg is then returned to the nest. The presence of dogs is also a persuasive deterrent.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Please write to the officials listed below and request that they immediately stop trapping and killing Canada geese in New Jersey. Be sure to request a response back on this issue to ensure that your position is not ignored.
1. Write to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, under whose leadership the killings are taking place:
The Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
2. Send a copy of your letter to:
USDA APHIS Wildlife Services
4700 River Road, Unit 87
Riverdale, MD 20737
3. Also contact the Port Authority:
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
225 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
Web form: http://www.panynj.gov/feedback/
You can mention the following points:
- killing thousands of Canada geese in the vicinity of airports will not prevent bird strikes, particularly in the long-term;
- to keep geese away from the vicinity of airports, the landscape must be modified to make the area less inviting to the animals;
- scare tactics and hazing have been shown to be effective in managing populations of Canada geese;
- you would like to see your tax dollars put towards humane methods to reduce flock growth (i.e. egg-addling) as opposed to killing the birds;
- planes are specifically designed to withstand bird strikes; and
- bird strikes don't just occur in the immediate vicinity of airplanes.
Please share our "Dear Humanitarian" eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to contact the officials listed above, too. As always, thank you very much for your help!