Activists gathered outside of the Prospect Park Gala yesterday in protest of last year’s slaughter of hundreds of geese by federal agents. On the morning of July 8, 2010, in response to aviation safety concerns, federal Wildlife Services staff boxed up more than 250 geese, including their young, and tossed them into gas chambers. The events of that day were confirmed by Carol Bannerman, a Department of Agriculture spokesperson, in relation to a city wide effort to exterminate geese within a seven mile radius of LaGuardia and JFK airports. The city had put the geese under scrutiny last year after Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger flew into a large flock of birds, disabling both engines, and forcing US Airways Flight 1549 to land on the Hudson River.
One of the activists in attendance, Kevin Beers, displayed an oil painting he made, in order to help spread awareness of the secret gassing of the Prospect Park geese. In an effort to maintain the geese population at a reasonable size, groups such as the Prospect Park Alliance, Brooklyn College, and the Humane Society of the United States, are working together to find alternative methods to the problem. Some of the proposed ideas include scaring the geese away with border collies and instating a rule against feeding the geese.
However, a contract established between the USDA and the city in relation to the gassing of the Prospect Park Geese will expire at the end of June. Worries of a rising geese population are bringing new concerns of a possible second extermination. The protesters hope to prevent it from happening again.