Just one phone call or e-mail made today can help pass legislation that will protect mute swans from a state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) plan to eradicate the population in New York. The legislation has been delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo once again, and he has until midnight on Nov. 28 to sign the bill. The governor may be reached at (518) 474-8390 or at https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form. Letters can be sent to his attention at the NYS State Capitol Building, State St., Albany, NY 12224

We need Friends of Animals’ supporters in New York to make their voices heard and convince the state’s chief executive to sign the bill into law once and for all. Tell him it’s what his constituents want. The legislation passed both houses of the legislature with an overwhelming majority for a third time. 

The legislation, A.9289, sponsored by assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and itss companion bill, S. 6630, sponsored by state Sen. Tony Avella, would establish a two-year moratorium on the DEC’s controversial plan to exterminate New York’s mute swans by 2025 and declare them a “prohibited species.” The legislation also requires the DEC to demonstrate that actual damage to the environment or other species has been caused by the mute swan population across the state.

“People in my community feel very strongly about the mute swans that live in Sheepshead Bay and the thought of the state coming in and shooting or gassing these birds is not acceptable to anyone,” said Cymbrowitz. “Now’s the time to speak up and tell the governor to sign this legislation,” Cymbrowitz.

DEC staff’s ‘control’ options would include: nest destruction, egg addling, shooting of free-range swans, capture, euthanasia and outrageously, the hunting of mute swans is also being considered as an option. All options are cruel and unnecessary. DEC’s attempt to blame 2,200 mute swans for causing significant environmental damage throughout all of New York is flimsy at best. 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, 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.


“With the passage of this bill, we can work to find a method that not only prevents harming these birds, but allows them to live peacefully in New York among humans and other wildlife,” said Avella.

We couldn’t agree more!