MEDIA RELEASE: Thousands Oppose Unethical Slaughter of Crystal Lake Park’s Geese for “Charity Harvest”

MEDIA RELEASE: Thousands Oppose Unethical Slaughter of Crystal Lake Park’s Geese for “Charity Harvest”

Urbana, IL (June 8, 2020) - Nearly all of the Canada geese residing at Crystal Lake Park are in danger of being rounded up and slaughtered as soon as this week, despite overwhelming public opposition and offers to help with humane, non-lethal alternatives. The Urbana Park District Board of Commissioners unanimously approved this unethical plan on May 12, and is trying to pass off the killing as a “charity harvest” when nothing could be further from the truth.

Now, thousands of In Defense of Animals supporters are urging the Urbana Park District Board of Commissioners, the Urbana Park District Superintendent of Planning and Operations, the Mayor of Urbana, and the Urbana Parks Foundation Board of Trustees to cancel their planned goose roundup and slaughter. It’s not known when the killing will take place, but it could be as early as this week, when the geese begin their annual feather molt. This leaves them unable to fly or escape.

“If this monstrous plan moves forward, dozens of unsuspecting geese will be rounded up during molting season, while they are flightless and defenseless,” warns In Defense of Animals Wild Animals Campaigner Lisa Levinson. “Most of the geese will be separated from their goslings and violently pushed into cages, while the rest will be left vulnerable, terrified, and traumatized — the ultimate in goose cruelty.”


Credit: David Karopkin/Goosewatch NYC

In Defense of Animals started the National Goose Protection Coalition to help communities like Urbana choose non-lethal alternatives to resolve conflicts with resident Canada geese. Local activists from Save Crystal Lake Geese reached out to the coalition for help.

Local activists weren’t notified about the goose roundup in time to voice their concerns, so they’ve been staging bi-weekly protests attended by well-known humanitarian Dr. Patch Adams, who said, “I have a hundred causes, each one equally important, including the geese.”


CREDIT: In Defense of Animals

Eight in every 10 Urbana Park geese will meet a violent death, and at least 80 lives will be extinguished.

The Board’s rash mass-slaughter decision was pushed through to begin the park’s $2.5 million renovation plan to add revenue-boosting amenities — even though the Urbana Park District’s own reports show five years of steady improvement and a marked goose population decrease of 12% in the last two years using non-lethal strategies like habitat modification, nesting management, and humane hazing. Efforts at effective humane goose deterrents such as planting taller grass have been limited and delayed, and there have been no efforts at all to set up a “tolerance zone” for geese away from human activities, which would provide a long-term solution to help control goose population sizes in the future.

Complaints about goose poop can easily be remedied by hiring companies to clean the waste, which is an effective fertilizer and not a health hazard as claimed. Local goose advocates have offered to volunteer to clean up after the geese and educate the community about non-lethal options during a recent meeting with Urbana Park District’s Tim Bartlett and Derek Leibert if the District postponed the roundup for another year. So far, their generous offer has fallen on deaf ears.

Urbana goose advocates, In Defense of Animals, and over 6,000 members of the public are now calling on the Urbana Park District Board of Commissioners to recast their vote after receiving a presentation on humane goose management. Vice President Nancy Delcomyn expressed reservations about killing the geese and Commissioner Roger Digges said he didn’t know enough about geese to discuss the ethics of roundups when pressed by local activists. 

While the public has been told the meat is being donated to charity, the toxic corpses of geese and their goslings are generally thrown into landfills, due to legalities regarding the potential health risks associated with eating pesticide-laden goose meat and the expense of required toxicity tests. Poultry processing plants are not legally permitted to slaughter waterfowl, which is a heightened risk during COVID-19 restrictions. 

Sadly, the birds’ lifeless bodies will become actual waste because no credible charities will risk feeding pesticide-laden goose flesh to food pantry patrons.

To increase public transparency, In Defense of Animals strongly encourages the City of Urbana and the Urbana Park District to consider the following humane strategies to help coexist with resident geese instead of pursuing the lethal goose roundup: 

  • Restore habitat, plant taller grasses, and use FlightTurf® (a native seed product which naturally deters geese and ticks)
  • Create a “tolerance zone” for geese away from human activities 
  • Relocate young resident geese to areas with migratory geese so they learn to migrate, a strategy employed in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Purchase sweeper machines or hire employees to remove goose feces with minimal investment
  • Try new egg oiling methods, like leaving one or two eggs un-oiled so geese won’t reproduce again in the same season
  • Combine sonic repellents and herd dogs
  • Allow local predators to deter goose populations naturally (raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, crows, snakes, snapping turtles, hawks, eagles, and owls prey on goslings and/or adult geese)

“Goose roundup killings are an expensive burden on taxpayers since they must be repeated annually because they don’t work like the humane methods we’re suggesting,” asserts Marilyn Kroplick, MD, President of In Defense of Animals. “The Urbana Park District should consider compassionate alternatives before traumatizing and killing Crystal Lake Park geese. Even humanitarian Dr. Patch Adams agrees!”

Members of the public are encouraged to sign the alert to the Urbana Park District Board of Commissioners, the Urbana Park District Superintendent of Planning and Operations, the Mayor of Urbana, and the Urbana Parks Foundation Board of Trustees: 


For help resolving geese conflicts:

Contact: Lisa Levinson,, 215-620-2130

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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 37-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, campaigns, and hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.




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