Westchester 4 GeesePress Releases
From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.



September 12, 2014

Kiley Blackman

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY   SEPTEMBER 13, 2012   Several Westchester County resident voters  will meet with members of the office of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino on September 13, to discuss the recent killing of geese at the Sprain Golf Course, with the aim of avoiding more such activities.

In the early morning hours of July 2, agents with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) descended on the Sprain Lake Golf Course in Yonkers and rounded up and removed 470 Canada geese. The trapped geese were crated and trucked upstate in ninety-degree temperatures to be slaughtered, their flesh purportedly distributed to food banks.

The Canada geese, who harmed no one and brought pleasure to many, were captured when they were molting and unable to fly. Since their molting coincides with breeding season, hundreds of goslings were rounded up and killed along with their parents.

The killing was authorized by the Westchester County Department of Parks, which paid almost $5,000  to USDA's Wildlife Services division, to capture and kill the geese. Though USDA has not yet disclosed the method of killing, in the past trapped Canada geese have been put into gas chambers where they die a slow painful death from suffocation with carbon dioxide gas.

The massive geese removal operation happened without public approval or transparency.   It was done, not under the already-dubious guise of 'protecting air travel,' but to facilitate a game of golf.  To attempt to get public approval, they spin the slaughter by making it a 'food pantry' donation -despite the fact that geese flesh is frequently tainted with high degrees of lead, mercury and PCB's, and the NYC Dept of Health urges people to not partake in more than two such serving per month, www.Health.NY.gov/environmental.  Many food banks will not accept it; Executive Director for Coalition for Homeless Mary E. Brosnahan calls this an extremely costly per-pound endeavor,  which '...in addition to the incalculable moral and ethical costs, does not include the federal inspection and proper testing for possible contaminants - if that was even done.  If not done, then Westchester food banks participated in a dangerous double standard in which poor men, women and children ate unregulated and insufficiently inspected flesh.'

Peter Tartaglia, spokesman for the Westchester County Parks, said the move to kill the geese from the county-owned course was necessary for the safety of golfers and residents in the Sprain Lake area.  According to Tartaglia, geese are 'aggressive at certain times of the year' - although there are zero instances of attacks by geese on record.  

Among the Westchester County tax payer residents  in attendance on Sept. 13 will be several avian advocate specialists,  including Wildlife Watch and Animal Defenders of Westchester, who will present viable humane alternatives to killing these innocents.  

Kiley Blackman, organizer of the meeting, said, 'Many Westchester residents enjoy watching the geese, with their little babies that they protect so proudly and lovingly.  Outright killing them under any circumstances, especially  so that others can hit a ball with a stick,  is not our finest hour.  Are they now going to round up the squirrels and racoons for 'donations' to food banks and add road kill for dessert?   The previous administration in Westchester County had a stated policy of not killing geese; we expect this decent, kind policy to continue.' 

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