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 this post with your friends
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should the tradition of throwing wild turkeys from a plane be allowed? – [1927 Views]
- POLL: Should the Rare Spirit Bear Be Protected From Hunters? – [1652 Views]
- POLL: Should Arizona’s wild cats be protected from trophy hunters? – [1315 Views]
- POLL: Should the use of bears as living tourist attractions be banned? – [1203 Views]
- POLL: Should Dolphinariums As Tourist Attractions Be Closed Down? – [1065 Views]
- POLL: Should animal traps in our National Wildlife Refuges be banned? – [1063 Views]
- POLL: Should Orcas and Dolphins be freed from all Seaquariums? – [1033 Views]
- POLL: Should the Alaska Refuge be opened up for drilling? – [992 Views]
- POLL: Should the testing of cosmetics on animals be banned? – [895 Views]
- Penguin disaster as only two chicks survive from colony of 40,000 – [807 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- POLL: Should hunting with hounds be banned? – [7645 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [6610 Views]
- POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? [3799 Views]
- POLL: Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned? – [3786 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farming? – [3605 Views]
- POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped? – [3055 Views]
- POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2873 Views]
- POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2667 Views]
- POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2578 Views]
- POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [2322 Views]