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Nature at Odds: Send in the Canada Geese!

(SNN) - 'Colonel, send in the Geese,' and with that order began an perceived invasion from Canada on U.S. soil. The invaders, are none other than Canada Geese. It appears that our name sake fowl is being blamed for the downing of a commercial jet, buckets of white effluence littering New York city parks and replacing the pigeons as the trademark bird of the park scavengers.

The solution that New York city has examined is the capture and killing of these birds to the tune of 165,000, or 330,000 drum sticks. The methods of choice are to capture them in cages, place them in wood grates and transport the fowl to a site where they are euthanized in accordance with approved methods of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

The approved method, according to the 2007 AVMA Guidelines for Euthanasia, is “Free-ranging birds may be collected by a number of methods, including nets and live traps, with subsequent euthanasia. For collection by firearm, shotguns are recommended. The bird should be killed outright by use of ammunition loads appropriate for the species to be collected.” If the authorities have the facilities to place these birds into pressure chambers, the recommended method instead of gunshot is to cause hypoxia through gassing. The recommended gas that can cause death within 2 to 6 minutes are either CO (Carbon Monoxide) or CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), the former being the preferred gas. This according to the AVMA are approved for the humane killing of wildlife birds such as the Canada Goose.

The interesting point of all this is that according to studies, the population of Canada Geese is not at a high. It appears that all that has run a foul is that the migration pattern has changed. The pesky birds just seem to want to stay at the Big Apple and the fields near the airports have been chosen as their favourite landing zone. It has also been noted that since Canadians are no longer avid hunters, the seasonal culling through this activity is being blamed for the increased concentration of the goose population.

For whatever reason, the Canada Goose has been identified as a pest, that requires pest control. As a result, America has now placed them on the radar for extermination. I really have no problem with that. After all, a goose was sucked into the engine of a commercial jet which did take down the aircraft and its passengers. Of course it can be said that it is not the fault of the goose, and that man made objects, those being the jet and airport, should not be there in the first place. It can be argued that perhaps hundreds of years ago, before New York City was just a twinkle in our eye, the birds migrated to that region yearly and lived in harmony with their surroundings.

But to exterminate 165,000 birds! What a travesty, the global community should be enraged! People should gather in city parks with signs with, “stop the killing” slathered on them! It paints a picture of hairy low-life types encroaching on them with shot guns and killing all those poor birds!

Can you hear my sarcasm?

This story really did not get much press attention. One short burst of exposure in the dailies, prompted the New York mayor to reexamine the situation. I guess he is waiting for another aircraft to crash in order to sway public opinion. Because we all know that public opinion should be the sole rudder that steers government action. More sarcasm, I sure hope you heard that.

Much like Canada's policy on the seal hunt, and the loss of ducks in the tailing ponds of Oil Sands extraction, the U.S. problem with the Canada Goose is a very similar situation. It is another example of how humankind as a society is faced with a contradiction. On one hand, we want to be good stewards of this planet where humans live in harmony and respect for all creatures great and small. In the other, we have a need to continue to survive as a culture. A culture where we have developed technology and a lifestyle that the majority of us depend on. That includes such things as air travel and fossil fuel energy. The structure of these developments cannot be just changed overnight. To do so would be detrimental to our economy, and believe it or not it could adversely affect each one of us.

So like Geese adversely affecting the air travel in New York, structures and operations by humans clash with nature such as the oil sands development. Unfortunately until other solutions develop, humans will continue to confront nature. When it comes to Canada's seal hunt, the authorized method of killing them as regulated by those in authority includes shooting and clubbing, where clubbing preserves the pelts. In contrast with the AVMA authorized methods of killing wild birds seems just as inhumane. Like it or not both policies are necessary.

Now that the United States of America has joined Canada as a country at odds with animal rights activists, it will be interesting to see how the Canada Geese will fair in that country.

Photo by: superstrikertwo's (Tyler) flickr photostream, Some Rights Reserved, The Sage nor this article endorsed.

DISCLAIMER: The above article is OPINION.The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the authors of The Sage Opinion and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the The Sage News Network or the official policies of the The Sage News.
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