The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a permit to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to kill over 90 species of bird within New York State this year, ANIMAL has learned. The birds slated for killing include owls, herons, hawks, and woodpeckers, in addition to the slaughter of Canada geese that has been widely publicized.
The permit was uncovered as part of a Freedom of Information Act request that also yielded permits to kill geese for the Nassau County Department of Public Works, a number of Long Island parks, and businesses including Stony Brook University and Belmont Park.
The discovery comes in the wake of widespread controversy over the USDA’s widespread and continual killing of geese in New York–a practice that advocates say helps prevent air strikes, but critics say is both ineffectual and inhumane.
“Permits are issued on case by case basis and depending on thesituation, someprotectedmigratory birds may be listed on a permit,” Alicia King, Communications Coordinator for the FWS’sMigratory Bird Program, told ANIMAL. “Our permitofficersrarelyissuep
“Take” is a word the FWS uses to mean “harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct,” as described in theEndangered Species Act. Per Mrs. King’s comment, the USDA’s permit allows for the killing of 40 each of five different species of woodpecker.
Last year, Ron Merritt, the former chief of the Air Force’s Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard and president of a company that specializes in preventing air strikes, came out against the killing of birds. “Killing 1,000 geese really isn’t going to do anything,” Merritt said at the time. “If you kill them, nature will fill that vacuum and a new species will pop up in its place.We’re better off if we don’t build these things near wildlife areas like wetlands to begin with.”
Carol Bannerman, a representative of the USDA, explained that “lethal control” is most often used in aviation areas to protect against bird strikes, and emphasized that not every bird listed on the group’s permit may be killed.
“Certainly the numbers in the permit represent the maximum that could be taken,” Bannerman said. “It’s not a quota. The annual reports of the numbers taken would show much lower numbers for most of the species.”
Richard Brummel, the environmental activist who obtained the papers, is both frightened and perplexed by what he found. “I hope that pressure can be brought to bear to stop these killings,” he said. “It is shocking that beyond the intolerance for geese because of their droppings, somehow we now are killing mallard ducks, egrets, owls, woodpeckers, osprey and other animals that seem to be beautiful parts of nature to me and to almost everyone else I have ever encountered.”
The language in many of the permits, including the USDA’s, states that birds can be “taken”in order to “relieve or prevent injurious situations impacting human health or safety, natural resources, agriculture, and public or private property.” All emphasize the use of “non-lethal management techniques” before resorting to killing birds. The USDA is also allowed to destroy the eggs of a host of birds, including Canada geese, osprey, swallows, herons, ducks, vultures, and woodpeckers.
Brummel has organized two petitions to stop the practice.
See the full text of the USDA permit below, and the 13 FOIA-obtained permitshere.
This article was written by Andy Cush for Animalnewyork.com
Share on social media:
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should Finland’s 235 wolves be culled? [1641 Views]
- POLL: Should all tiger farms in China be closed down? [1621 Views]
- POLL: Should the Wildlife Trust’s campaign to slaughter grey squirrels be stopped? [1609 Views]
- POLL: Should Trump disband USDA Wildlife “Killing” Services? [1219 Views]
- POLL: Should more bear hunting licenses be issued? [1152 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [967 Views]
- POLL: Should Australia’s feral cats be culled? [824 Views]
- POLL: Could U.S. endangered species rules go extinct under Trump? [727 Views]
- Why do birds sing? [634 Views]
- An elk’s-eye view of migrating through Yellowstone [569 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- White Killer Whale Adult Spotted for First Time in Wild [42056 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [16800 Views]
- POLL: Should fur farming be banned in the European Union? [13853 Views]
- POLL: Should Congress disband Wildlife “Killing” Services? [11117 Views]
- POLL: Should driven grouse-shooting be banned? [8614 Views]
- POLL: Should grouse shooting on highland estates be banned? [8309 Views]
- POLL: Should the annual Canadian seal hunt be banned? [8116 Views]
- POLL: Should black bears be killed for Royal Guards’ fur caps? [8048 Views]
- POLL: Should China’s dog meat festival be banned? [7417 Views]
- Wildlife Photo Adventure in Costa Rica! [6115 Views]