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Animal Activists Cry Fowl Over Proposed Geese Culling

CONVERSATION TOPIC: Are Canada Geese Kill Programs Necessary Evil or Are Non-Lethal Methods Better? Share your opinion…

Canada Geese are a not too uncommon site throughout the Garden State but Lacey’s tentative plan to deal with the winged nuisance in a lethal manner is causing outrage from an animal rights group.

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Lacey Township proposed dealing with the Canada Geese on Deer Head Lake by culling them using a collect-and-kill program which is approved by the USDA. The method involves collecting the birds into the back of a large truck and exposing them to carbon dioxide gas, ultimately killing them.

Animal Rights Groups Outraged; Non-Lethal Methods Proposed

Members Animal Rights Activists of New Jersey launched an email campaign to the township to express their outrage with the plan, ultimately sending over two thousand emails to the township clerk addressed from as far as Afghanistan (though only 46 came from within Lacey Township.)

Protesters will be at the township Thursday during a discussion of the plan, which isn’t expected to go through.

President of the Animal Rights Activists of New Jersey, Dave Sauder , believes that there are more humane methods of dealing with the geese rather than gassing them. He recommends an integrated approach as suggested by the Humane Society of the United State’s Goose Management Plan. He while there are many non-lethal solutions, the process of egg addling can provide a more lethal solution that is still humane.

“They oil the eggs so that the embryo would suffocate before development.”

He says in terms of non lethal methods, you can practice habitat modification where you replace short grass with other materials.

“Instead of having these golf course type settings or corporate parks settings where the grasses are very short, you leave the grasses to grow to their natural state to provide an area where geese do not want to be because they cannot see their predators.” Says Sauder.

He notes that you can modify areas where geese congregate, like around lakes and parks to create an environment where they don’t like to be.

Another landscaping technique called Rip Rap, which is a form of landscaping which uses varied size stones to put around areas like lakes because the geese don’t like to stand on these areas.

Other aversion techniques Sauder says are effective include radio-controlled boats, laser lights, radio distress calls of Canada Geese, or canine effigies which if regularly moved around prove effective in scaring away the birds.

NJ Landscaping Makes For Ideal Goose Conditions

One of the most novel ideas for goose aversion involves a fake eagle effigy suspended in the air like a kite which when the geese see it they flee.

Sauder notes that a company that makes the eagle models has already volunteered to give Lacey use of the model to get rid of the geese and not charge them if it doesn’t work.

With all of the available non-lethal and more humane methods of controlling the goose population available, Sauder isn’t sure why towns would go with a deadlier less humane set of options presented by the USDA.

“I think it’s sometimes more convenient to utilize the USDA rather than go to these other methods of trying to control geese.”

Adding that he believes it could be because politicians are trying to satisfy a certain constituency they have that only see killing as the most practical tool to controlling geese.

He notes Lacey’s plan would cost six thousand dollars, a sum that could be better spent on more non-lethal methods.

While notes most of those aversion methods do work, he acknowledges they aren’t a final solution since it often only pushes the birds to another town. He believes that for the state to get rid of its goose population effectively it will require a shift in the way we think.

“You know we have created in our modern sprawl, an ideal goose habitat almost all through the state of New Jersey.”

He notes that as humans we have to find the ideal habitat that can put us in cooperation with other species.

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