For Immediate Release
Dec. 18, 2014
Contact: Edita Birnkrant, NY Director, Friends of Animals 212.247.8120;

                 Priscilla Feral, FoA President, Friends of Animals 203.656.1522 


FoA demands DEC share its revised swan management plan after Cuomo vetoes bill to save the iconic birds

On Wednesday, Dec. 17, Gov. Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have saved mute swans from slaughter because he was concerned that the bill would overlap with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s revised mute swan management plan, which was supposed to be revealed to the public last spring. Friends of Animals wants to know… Where is the revised plan is and why is it being kept a secret from the public? 

“If Gov. Cuomo is entitled to veto a bill based on a plan, the public deserves to see that plan. We demand to see the plan immediately if not sooner,” said Edita Birnkrant, campaign director for Friends of Animals. “We are concerned that it will be as odious as the first plan—which was to eradicate all 2,200 wild mute swans in the state by 2025 and declare them a “prohibited species. The DEC has a record of treating birds miserably in New York, from snowy owls at the airport to Canada geese in our parks.”

“The Governor’s office told me that DEC would be introducing a revised plan that would incorporate parts of the bill,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, who introduced the bill in the Assembly. “I would like to find this reassuring, but DEC already promised to consider non-lethal methods for managing the swans and then last June shot two swans to death upstate in full view of the public.”

The bill, which was also filed in the Senate by New York state Sen. Tony Avella last February at the request of Friends of Animals, would have established a two-year moratorium on the DEC’s plan. It would have also required the DEC to demonstrate that actual damage to the environment or other species has been caused by the mute swan population across the state. 

“After a swan protection measure passed the NY Senate and Assembly, Friends of Animals is confounded that Gov. Cuomo vetoed this common-sense legislation, which opposed the DEC’s reckless and cruel plan to cause extinction of mute swans throughout New York,” said Birnkrant. “New Yorkers vehemently oppose the wildlife agency’s swan eradication plan, and bird lovers, ornithologists, and diverse groups rallied for its passage. The Governor’s veto endorses a government agency that’s out-of-step with public opinion. It is unfortunate that Gov. Cuomo is acting solely in the interests of the hunting groups who opposed this legislation—enabling a dysfunctional and out of control DEC to continue setting harmful and destructive polices not supported by the public or state legislature.”

Friends of Animals will continue interventions that challenge the DEC’s disastrous, convoluted, shameful attitudes that treat beautiful birds and other wildlife as trash to be eradicated.

“We will be watching the DEC like hawks to assure swans are not treated like garbage,” Birnkrant said. “We will expose every move the DEC makes. The DEC is getting away with murder and we won’t tolerate their maneuvers and mistreatment of swans.”