Senator Avella and Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz urge Governor Cuomo to sign their legislation to save the majestic birds from impending eradication by the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

ALBANY, NY— State Senator Tony Avella and Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign into law their legislation to establish a two-year moratorium on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s controversial plan to eradicate all wild mute swans in the state by 2025 and declare them a “prohibited species.” The bill will also require DEC to demonstrate that actual damage to the environment or other species have been caused by the mute swan population across the state.

This legislation (S.6589A/A.8790A) passed both houses of the Legislature with an overwhelming majority. 

Unfortunately, mere hours before the Senate’s passage of the bill, three plain clothed DEC agents in an unmarked boat shot two mute swans near the Black River Bay.  Both Senator Avella and Assemblyman Cymbrowitz immediately blasted DEC’s actions and reached out to the commissioner for a full explanation of what occurred. 

“The facts do not support DEC’s plan to eradicate these beautiful creatures,” stated Senator Avella, Vice Chairman of the Senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee. “With the passage of my bill, I think it is now quite clear that DEC’s careless plan to eradicate the entire mute swan species entailed too many questions and not enough answers. These birds have been around for decades and the population is estimated at only 2200. How can they be a threat to society? This has been a huge issue for the State of New York and I am glad that we will now have the time to properly examine and hopefully change this plan with legal protections that prevent harm to the swans and allow New York residents to live in harmony with these treasured birds.”

Assemblymember Cymbrowitz, a member of the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee, said the swans are as iconic to his shorefront Brooklyn community as the Brighton Beach boardwalk and Sheepshead Bay fishing boats. He said the people of his district, including many who are well-versed in the daily struggles of non-native residents, feel a kinship to the plight of the immigrant species and have embraced the cause of saving the beleaguered swans. “We know all too well the challenges that make acceptance difficult in a new and sometimes unforgiving land,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. “Is this really the appropriate way to treat each other?”

The signing of this legislation into law would serve as a major victory for animal rights and environmental protection groups who have rallied alongside Senator Avella against DEC’s plan immediately after it was introduced last year, namely Friends of Animals and the League of Humane Voters.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz’ pro-swan advocacy has also attracted the attention of animal advocacy organizations like GooseWatch NYC, the Regal Swan Foundation and Save Our Swans.