August 17th, 2010 by Barbara Stagno
A rally for the Canada geese of New York City. It could have been a dream, with all those people lining the steps of City Hall, but it was real. A day before, I had prepared my talk, and wrote about how wildlife does not belong to government agencies. I asked the crowd – the then imaginary crowd – to join with me in demanding changes for how our government deals with wildlife.
When I wrote those words I had no idea that one day later, more than 150 people would join the IDA rally for the Canada geese. I couldn’t have imagined the passionate and enthusiastic voices of Councilmember Letitia James and State Senator Eric Adams, who spoke about growing up with the geese in Prospect Park…. playing with them, learning about them. Or, as Senator Adams so eloquently said, learning that, in essence, they are really not that much different from us.
When I saw that spirited crowd, I knew that it was true. That people cared deeply and had come to speak up about putting a stop to the government killing of wildlife. To demand change.
Those words I spoke on Thursday August 12, 2010, could be addressed to any mayor in any city. They reflect the feelings of communities all across America, who have had their precious birds taken from them and slaughtered.
Mayor Bloomberg made the ludicrous statement that it comes down to people or geese.
It’s not about people or geese.
It’s about ways to co-exist peacefully with the animals of this earth.
It’s not about making airline flights safer. Killing resident Canada Geese has absolutely nothing to do with airline safety, as these geese don’t fly that high! There are, however, real ways to make airline flying safer, ways that do not require us to kill – and ways that other cities around the world currently engage in.
We will not stand by while you kill the geese who were over bred to satisfy hunters, and who flew away from the hunted areas to come live in the cities where they are safe.
We welcome them in our parks where they can be protected.
If there are too many geese today in Prospect Park, or Central Park, or Flushing Meadow Park, it’s because of government mismanagement, and we will not stand by while you make excuses to wipe out these wonderful flocks that live in our parks.
The people here in front of City Hall today are sending a message. The government’s war on wildlife needs to end and it needs to end now. Humane solutions exist and we demand that they be used.
Let’s start right here in New York City, home of a diverse community of compassionate and tolerant citizens, who have welcomed millions of people from around the world to take refuge in our city.
Out of this heritage of kindness and tolerance, let us reverse the senseless killing of animals perpetrated by government and herald in a new era for wildlife.