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Hundreds of Thousands of Geese to be Killed

The Humane Society of the United States decries goal of new U.S. Fish and Wildlife regulations for resident Canada geese


(WASHINGTON) August 28, 2006 -- The Humane Society of the United States announced today its strong opposition to new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations that call for the killing of hundreds of thousands of “resident” Canada geese across the country annually for a period of 10 years.  This new plan becomes effective September 11, 2006. 


This plan is to dramatically reduce the population of resident Canada geese and to turn over most management to state wildlife agencies, significantly reducing the federal protections that these birds enjoyed for nearly a century. Federal wildlife managers’ support for outmoded and unsuccessful responses to conflicts with wildlife through goose round-ups and other forms of killing contradicts the public’s expressed desire for conflicts to be resolved humanely.  


John Hadidian, wildlife biologist and director of urban wildlife programs for The HSUS explains, “Indiscriminate killing of geese will not resolve our conflicts with them.  Unless the attractive habitats we create are modified, the birds will keep coming back. Furthermore, of the more than 2,900 public comments that the Service received when they proposed these regulations, 94 percent opposed lethal methods. This was ignored.”


Many communities have already embraced comprehensive management programs that do not involve killing adult and gosling geese.  Egg addling—oiling or removing eggs so they don’t hatch—to limit flock growth is a good start and, a newly registered compound that can be fed geese to prevent egg development, offers great promise for the future. Properties with significant goose numbers can apply repellents, modify landscaping, and harass geese with lasers where they roost at night and trained dogs where they forage during the day.  These humane techniques stabilize flock size and teach geese to respect non tolerance zones where people do not want them.  There is also specially designed landscaping equipment that sweeps up droppings.  Community-based programs using a combination of these methods have been successful nationwide.   


Maggie Brasted directs The HSUS efforts to work with communities on humane nuisance abatement, and oversees a volunteer effort in Montgomery County, MD that has participated in a highly successful egg addling program.  “Parks, golf courses, and ball fields offer geese a free buffet of grass and open sight lines and easy access to pond water offer them safety,” said Brasted. “This creates a virtual goose nirvana. The reality is that the environment needs to be regulated, not the birds, if there is significant change to be made. While most complaints are about goose droppings in public places, none of the Services’ actions in these final regulations will actually address that problem.”


With the implementation of these regulations, each state wildlife agency will now have new discretion on how resident geese are treated in their states, including states electing to hold special Canada goose permits -- as 18 states already do. The HSUS urges people who are concerned about the treatment of these magnificent, wild birds to contact their state wildlife agency and let them know. To find your state agency, go to www.fws.gov/offices/statelinks.html .


The HSUS Wild Neighbors Program promotes non-lethal means for resolving conflicts between people and wildlife and cultivates understanding and appreciation for wild animals commonly found in cities and towns. On the web at www.wildneighbors.org .  


Media Contact:  Rodi Rosensweig, 203-270-8929, rodicompany@earthlink.net .


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization representing more than 9.5 million members and constituents. The non-profit organization is a mainstream voice for animals, with active programs in companion animals, disaster preparedness and response, wildlife and habitat protection, animals in research, equine protection and farm animal welfare. The HSUS protects all animals through education, investigation, litigation, legislation, advocacy, and field work. The group is based in Washington and has numerous field representatives across the country. On the web at www.hsus.org .


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