June 30, 2003

Gassing Geese in the

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:05 pm

Gassing Geese in the Garden State.
Union County, New Jersey officials have decided to round up and kill the approximately 2,700 Canada geese that have taken up residence in several of the county’s public parks, recreation areas and golf courses. The birds are to be captured in the early morning hours over the next few days and gassed with carbon dioxide in an on-site truck.

County officials reported that other more animal-friendly methods to get the birds to go elsewhere have been tried, such as using border collies and manning motorboats to frighten them away. The county sprayed chemicals to deter the birds from landing and nesting. This spring, the county even launched a program to locate the nesting sites and cover the eggs they found with a special oil that would prevent them from hatching. Nothing worked.

The Federal Wildlife Services has opined that asphyxiating the geese with carbon dioxide is “…humane and legal,” but, predictably, the local representative of the Humane Society disagrees, and considers the use of carbon dioxide as inhumane “mass killing.”

Similarly, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Audubon Society blamed the problem on “too much lawn mowing,” pointing out that large grassy tracts are a magnet for the birds. The Society urged that the geese would be less attracted to the County’s parks if the County were to permit grassy areas, currently mowed, to return to their natural state.

The reason for this seemingly draconian action on the part of the County is that each adult goose produces approximately one pound of goose ca-ca per day. By my pedestrian math, that’s almost two tons per day and forty-two tons per month of nasty, green goose crap.

I admit that the idea of birds being gassed in the back of a truck is not something I find to be particularly attractive, but I am familiar with at least one of the parks in question, and I have to say that the geese and their collective daily output of goose crap have rendered the place unsuitable for use by people.

In short, it’s really gross.

I suppose that dispatching the animals one at a time might be preferable (but also not pretty), and it would cost the taxpayers significantly more than the $20,000 that has been allocated for the project. And, as for allowing the parks to return to their natural state, I can only say that they are, after all, parks, not wildlife preserves. Believe it or not, New Jersey has plenty of nearby places for birds to safely hang out (i.e. wildlife preserves), but unfortunately for the geese, county parks, county golf courses and county recreation areas are not among them. Those places have been set aside for people.

And you thought the only thing that we have to deal with in Jersey is the mob.

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