We were dismayed to discover the war on mute swans stretches beyond the state of New York to the town of Waterford, Michigan which is currently debating whether or not to approve a resolution that will allow for the killing of “invasive” mute swans and their eggs this year. 

According to an article in the Daily Tribune, “If the resolution is approved, lake associations, private resident and business owners, subdivisions and property owners may submit appropriate paperwork to the state DNR Wildlife Division and are responsible for adhering to the state’s requirements.”

The state of Michigan provides an entire list of cruel and abusive ways private citizens can murder mute swans if they are granted a permit to do so. The sick options are included below. 

“a. Live capture and euthanized by a veterinarian at the WLD Wildlife Disease Lab,
b. Live capture and inhalation of carbon dioxide,
c. Live capture and injection of approved euthanasia drugs,
d. Live capture and cervical dislocation, e. Capture with Alpha Chloralose: Alpha Chloralose may be used only by USDA/Wildlife Services personnel to capture mute swans. Pursuant to FDA restrictions, waterfowl captured with Alpha Chloralose for subsequent euthanasia must be killed and buried or incinerated, or
f. Single shot to the head with approved firearm as indicated in the permit.”

As we know from studies conducted in New York, blaming mute swans for causing significant environmental damage throughout a state or as an “invasive” species is absurd. While the diet of mute swans consists of sub aquatic vegetation (SAV), studies have shown that runoff from fertilizers, pesticides and animal waste contribute significantly to the loss of SAV in other areas. 

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. 

1. We are urging Michigan citizens to contact the Waterford town council today before the vote and tell them not to approve this unnecessary and cruel resolution that will lead to the death of many of the state’s mute swans. Call Stacy St. James, Waterford’s Environmental Coordinator, at (248) 674-6240 and sending a message to the entire town council via email here. 

2. Michigan citizens can also contact their local legislators about introducing a bill that will protect the entire state’s population of mute swans, as was done in NY. 

3. New York residents can also take action for mute swans on the East Coast by contacting Governor Cuomo and urging him to sign the bill that will save NY’s mute swans into law. Contact the Governor using this form.