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Stop Mute Swan Slaughter in NY

January 30, 2014 | Take Action

Update: You can listen to our New York Director, Edita Birnkrant, on BBC World Review at the 35:15 mark, opposite a Cornell Professor of Wildlife Conservation who supports the heinous plan to kill all wild mute swans in NY State. Birnkrant defends the swans and advocates fiercely against the plan.

Audubon Betrays Swans

The mute swan was named by the United States government as the International Symbol of Peace in the 1970s. Now they have come to symbolize the war on wildlife that the government is waging and that Audubon NY condones. 

This year the government has decided it wants to slaughter all mute swans in New York over the next decade, despite the fact the bird has legions of admirers. New Yorkers and tourists flock to parks specifically to observe these regal creatures gliding along the water, minding their own business.  

In a New York Times article “New York Wants to Banish a Symbol of Love: Mute Swans” dated  Jan. 29,  Mike Burger, director of conservation and science for Audubon New York, said the statewide group  “is very comfortable moving forward with a position that is supportive of the D.E.C.’s plan.” 

In the DEC's preposterous Draft Management Plan for Mute Swans in New York State, which Friends of Animals opposes, the agency tries to justify this potential killing spree and extermination of  2,200 free-living mute swans by claiming they can cause a variety of problems. It claims the problems include aggressive behavior towards people, destruction of submerged aquatic vegetation SAV, displacement of native wildlife species, degradation of water quality and potential hazards to aviation. 

The drafted regulation calls for a mass slaughter by shooting, destruction of eggs and sterilization. In addition it states the "DEC will authorize any property owner, land or water management authority, municipality or other responsible party to control or remove mute swans from their property for any reason." 

“If Audubon is supporting the government's shoot first approach to wildlife, which has resulted in the deaths of millions of birds in the United States, then it is masquerading as a bird loving group,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals. “In that case, they need to be put out of business. We hope to see real bird lovers tearing up their Audubon membership cards.”

The DEC and by default the Audubon Society contemptuously classifies mute swans as an “invasive, non-native species” in spite of the fact that they’ve been in New York’s lower Hudson Valley since the 1800s and are a valued part of the ecosystem by many New York residents, beautifying lakes, ponds and waterways.

The flimsy attempt to blame 2,200 mute swans for causing significant environmental damage throughout all of New York State is laughable and lacks scientific evidence. On the contrary, human activity involved in contemporary agricultural methods is a much greater hazard to waterways.

While the diet of mute swans consists of SAV, studies have shown that runoff from fertilizers, pesticides and animal waste contribute significantly to the loss of SAV in other areas, like the Chesapeake Bay. Since mute swans constitute only about one half of one percent of the approximately 400,000 waterfowl in New York  counted by the DEC, and the nearly half a million waterfowl also consume aquatic vegetation, killing a relatively small population of mute swans will not contribute significantly to SAV recovery.

Waterfowl are meant to live in the water—they are not the problem—they are just scapegoats to divert attention from what really needs to be done to improve New York’s environmental woes.

As far as aviation safety, the facts show that there have been only four reported instances of airplanes striking mute swans in New York since 1990. The Federal Aviation Administration’s Wildlife Strike Database  confirms this exceeding low number, which any reasonable person would agree cannot possibly be used to wipe out an entire species.  

Demonizing mute swans by classifying them as “aggressive” towards humans is a longstanding tactic of government agencies who want to make a species they find a nuisance disappear.  Mute swans, like many other species, protect their nests and babies. Educating the public to avoid confronting swans or invading their nesting areas would solve any perceived issues. 

Ironically, it’s the DEC and Audubon who are behaving aggressively, engineering a plan to make a beloved species extinct through a mass slaughter through taxpayer’s money. 

Contact Gov. Cuomo and other elected officials to oppose the DEC plan.  Call his office at 518.474.8390 or send an email: gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us

Contact the DEC, which is accepting public comments to their proposal through Feb. 21. Submit  in writing to NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Swan Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or email: fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us
You can also contact the NY DEC Commissioner, Joseph Martens, by calling 518-402-8545 or email joemartens@gw.dec.state.ny.us and tell him to scrap the plans to wipe out mute swans. 

Contact NY Audubon at 518.869.9731 and tell them you oppose their support of the DEC plan. You can also contact the Director of Conservation and Science, Mike Burger, at mburger@audubon.org

 

 

Comments

I was shocked to hear anyone in their right mind would even think about doing something so barbaric and completely unnecessary! Have a Heart - Not a Bullet! Show respect where it's obviously needed for OUR animals. You don't own them to decide their fate, God made them for ALL OF US!

I have watched the same swan family raise their young year after year how can this be justified yet people can just polite anything they want and dont even get fined its ridiculous

I contacted everyone on the above list from FOA to stop the swan genocide

YOU DON'T NEED 14 BULLETS TO KILL A DEER = BUT YOU DON'T NEED ANY TO KILL THE SWANS.

HYPOCRITES. STOP THIS CULLING. THERE IS SO MUCH EVIL @ CRUELTY IN THIS WORLD WE DON'T NEED ANY MORE UNIMAGINABLE HORRORS TO KILL INNOCENT SWANS.

PLEASE STOP THIS I KNOW THIS MESSAGE WILL GO UNATTENDED AS AN ORDINARY CITIZEN HAS NO SAY IN THIS COUNTRY.

WRITE OR CALL THESE EVIL PEOPLE

I am hoping in this lifetime to not see ONE more act of depravity and indifference towards a beautiful creature's life. Please reconsider this horrific decision.

I am posting a portion of a comment associated with this nihilistic approach towards any creature that is suddenly considered a nuisance in our communities. As a Society we are wiping out Nature and what is most natural in life. We will end up with people lacking humanity and knowing how to justify (however flimsily) their aberrant actions.

The ramifications to our descendants for these continued decisions to slaughter Wildlife are going to be far reaching. They will be deprived of Natural Beauty and of their sense of humanity when the solution to their perceived problems is slaughter and elimination.

I am in full agreement with the following statement:
In the DEC's preposterous Draft Management Plan for Mute Swans in New York State, which Friends of Animals opposes, the agency tries to justify this potential killing spree and extermination of 2,200 free-living mute swans by claiming they can cause a variety of problems. It claims the problems include aggressive behavior towards people, destruction of submerged aquatic vegetation SAV, displacement of native wildlife species, degradation of water quality and potential hazards to aviation.
The drafted regulation calls for a mass slaughter by shooting, destruction of eggs and sterilization. In addition it states the "DEC will authorize any property owner, land or water management authority, municipality or other responsible party to control or remove mute swans from their property for any reason."
“If Audubon is supporting the government's shoot first approach to wildlife, which has resulted in the deaths of millions of birds in the United States, then it is masquerading as a bird loving group,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals. “In that case, they need to be put out of business. We hope to see real bird lovers tearing up their Audubon membership cards.”
The DEC and by default the Audubon Society contemptuously classifies mute swans as an “invasive, non-native species” in spite of the fact that they’ve been in New York’s lower Hudson Valley since the 1800s and are a valued part of the ecosystem by many New York residents, beautifying lakes, ponds and waterways.
The flimsy attempt to blame 2,200 mute swans for causing significant environmental damage throughout all of New York State is laughable and lacks scientific evidence. On the contrary, human activity involved in contemporary agricultural methods is a much greater hazard to waterways.
While the diet of mute swans consists of SAV, studies have shown that runoff from fertilizers, pesticides and animal waste contribute significantly to the loss of SAV in other areas, like the Chesapeake Bay. Since mute swans constitute only about one half of one percent of the approximately 400,000 waterfowl in New York counted by the DEC, and the nearly half a million waterfowl also consume aquatic vegetation, killing a relatively small population of mute swans will not contribute significantly to SAV recovery.
Waterfowl are meant to live in the water—they are not the problem—they are just scapegoats to divert attention from what really needs to be done to improve New York’s environmental woes.
As far as aviation safety, the facts show that there have been only four reported instances of airplanes striking mute swans in New York since 1990. The Federal Aviation Administration’s Wildlife Strike Database confirms this exceeding low number, which any reasonable person would agree cannot possibly be used to wipe out an entire species.
Demonizing mute swans by classifying them as “aggressive” towards humans is a longstanding tactic of government agencies who want to make a species they find a nuisance disappear. Mute swans, like many other species, protect their nests and babies. Educating the public to avoid confronting swans or invading their nesting areas would solve any perceived issues.
Ironically, it’s the DEC and Audubon who are behaving aggressively, engineering a plan to make a beloved species extinct through a mass slaughter through taxpayer’s money.

On behalf of those without voices, I beg you to stop the killing and remember that they were here long before us.

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