The news that the Village of Mamaroneck was planning to slaughter Canadian Geese during molting season has set off a firestorm of outrage from local—and not-so-local—animal advocacy groups as well as individuals who oppose what they say is a cruel solution to a complex problem that may not fully eradicate the goose population.
Westchester4Geese founder Kiley Blackman—whose group has called for the slaughter to be televised on local stations—has submitted a formal proposal to the village for an alternative to the village's contract with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Criticizing the village's plan as unlikely to keep the goose population away indefinitely—perpetuating a habitual slaughter—Blackman calls for the village's adoption of Geesebusters, a three-dimensional replica of a predatory bird designed to condition geese to avoid areas where they see the "bird" flying over head.
Created by Robert Guadagna, the replica circles the area as if it is on the hunt for prey, fooling birds into believing they are being considered for the "bird's" next meal.
"Our method exploits the bird's natural fear of an aerial predator and this inborn fear will cause the birds to leave permanently," said Geesebusters' website.
Although no specific figure was cited, Blackman's proposal said that Geesebusters would be willing to undercut the U.S.D.A.'s rate; Westchester4Geese has offered a $500 contribution toward the solution.
Additionally, the group supports ancillary methods of non-toxic goose repellents such as Birdgone and grape Kool-Aid, both of which have flavors repugnant to geese. Westchester4Geese also supports the use of goose birth control advocated by nonprofit group In Defense of Animals as well as methods such as egg oiling.
"With this unnecessary slaughter comes the underlying constant issue of brutality to beings who love their families just as humans do; who many many humans actually enjoy watching…whose viewing in fact provides a sense of peace and tranquility," said Blackman in the proposal.