Preston Friedman has enjoyed watching mute swans on Upton Lake in New York for more than 20 years. During his testimony to the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Oct. 19 in New Paltz, he repeatedly pointed to what wonderful parents they are. 

“The data that they chase other waterfowl is totally unfounded. I have pictures right here of swans coexisting with mallards and geese,” he said, holding up a pile of photographs.

The public comment session, which Friends of Animals testified at, provided a chance for people to sound off on the revised third draft of the DEC’s mute swan management plan. The DEC claims to have made significant changes to the plan in response to public comments received over the past three years. But what hasn’t changed is its attitude toward mute swans—DEC will stop at nothing to blame mute swans for damaging the environment and other species just as an excuse to eradicated them to make room for other waterfowl craved by hunters, which the DEC treats as clients.

Friedman correctly noted that data pushed out by the DEC in New York and in other states is unwarranted.

“They killed hundreds of mute swans in the Chesapeake Bay years ago because they said they were responsible for high nitrogen levels, which was proven false,” Friedman said. “After they killed all the swans and just left one or two mating pairs, years after that, they still had high nitrogen and they proved that it was due to leaky septic systems, pesticides and insecticides. These birds aren’t any more harmful than our pet dogs.”

Friends of Animals couldn’t agree more and let the DEC know with our own compelling testimony. Click here to read our comments

We were bolstered that all of the people who spoke were in favor of protecting mute swans.

There is still time to weigh in—the NY DEC is accepting comments until Dec. 13. Mail your comments to NYS DEC, Bureau of Wildlife—Mute Swan Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754. Submit comments electronically to: and include “mute swan plan” in the subject line, as well as your name, address and affiliation with your comment. All related information pertaining to the plan is available at