Friends of Animals (FoA) needs your help to save New York’s mute swan population. Your written comments to New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are needed by April 24, 2015.

FoA considers the DEC’s revised Draft Mute Swan Management Plan for New York released March 9 as criminal and morally reprehensible as its previous swan extermination plan of 2014, which received backlash from NY legislators and the public. FoA’s opposition efforts and the thousands of comments received from the public forced the DEC to revise its 2014 plan, but its new one is still a death sentence for mute swans. Help us stop the DEC in its tracks again. 

“The DEC’s new plan is the old insidious plan, with some new, distracting language thrown in,” said Edita Birnkrant, campaigns director for Friends of Animals. “The DEC’s revised plan is an insult to our intelligence, and most of all, an insult to mute swans who don’t deserve this assault by DEC.” 

The DEC plans to greatly reduce the numbers of mute swans, from the current 2,200 to fewer than 800, and would remove any free-ranging mute swan populations from upstate NY counties. This is unacceptable because it’s still based on the bad science and intolerant attitudes of the initial plan. The false claim that there are “too many” mute swans and that they destroy the environment is the basis of this revised plan. DEC staff “control” options will include: nest destruction, egg addling, shooting of free-range swans and capture and euthanasia and outrageously, the hunting of mute swans is also being considered as an option. All these options are unnecessary and cruel. 

Gov. Cuomo was apparently deceived by the DEC. He vetoed a bill introduced last year by N.Y. Senator Tony Avella that would have protected swans from lethal management methods, promising the public that the DEC’s revised plan included parts of the Avella’s legislation. Clearly, Gov. Cuomo was fooled by bureaucrats who think the only good swan is a dead one.

The DEC states in its revised plan that the “demand for viewing mute swans can largely be met through closely regulated possession of mute swans for enjoyment in urban parks and other public settings.”  FoA strongly disagrees that only controlled zoo-like settings and privatization of mute swans should be tolerated. New Yorkers enjoy the beauty of mute swans and their connection to nature living free. DEC wants to turn a beloved wild species into a quasi-domestic animal in controlled settings and we won’t stand for it.

“We don’t want a single swan to be killed by the DEC or hunters and we don’t want eggs destroyed,” Birnkrant said. “This beautiful, beloved species should be allowed to remain living wild as it has been for decades in New York. FoA will continue to oppose DEC’s proposed assaults on mute swans.”


Comments on the revised draft mute swan plan may be submitted in writing through April 24, 2015 to NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Swan Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or you may e-mail your comments to

Read the DEC’s New York State Revised Mute Swan Management Plan in its entirety right here.