(L) Edita Birnkrant- NY Director, Friends of Animals, Rose McCoy, 9, and Teresa D'Amico, across the street from Mayor Bloomberg's residence last night to protest the policy of killing thousands of geese. Nine year old Rose from Tribeca lead the chant, "You must, you must, you must understand, the blood is on your hands! " (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates -Click on photos to enlarge)
By Geoffrey Croft
Guests exiting an event held at Mayor Bloomberg's private residence last night were greeted by loud chants of, "Mr. Bloomberg what do you say, say how many geese did you gas today." And "Stop the slaughter, Stop the Slaughter! "What do we want? Peace for geese. When do want want it, Now!"
Under a heavy police presence, dozens animal rights protesters set up across the street from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's residence on E. 79th Street. The group were protesting the administration's policy of gassing geese in and around airports and city parks including four hundred killed in Prospect Park last month.
"You must, you must, you must understand, the blood is on your hands, " lead nine-year old Rose McCoy from Tribeca.
Protesters held signs that read, "Safer Airplanes=Habitat Modification + Bird Radar" and Mayor Bloomberg Ordered Gas- Chamber Death of Prospect Park's Geese & Their Babies - 400 Killed."
"New Yorkers are outraged about the policy that Mayor Bloomberg has approved to round up and send thousands of New York resident geese to the gas chambers," said Edita Birnkrant, NY Director, Friends of Animals. " We demand that this policy be dropped with the USDA to continually go into city parks and areas around the airports and round up and send all the geese to the gas chambers."
Protesters holding signs, accompanied closely by police, followed Mayor Bloomberg's motorcade as it made its way to 79th and Fifth Ave from his residence.
At approximately 6:40 p.m. the Mayor exited his townhouse and got into his SUV. About a half dozen protesters followed his motorcade to the corner of Fifth Ave and 79th St. They were accompanied by approximately a dozen police officers as the protesters shouted as the mayor made his way across 79th St. and turned onto Fifth Ave.
After the protest began, the NYPD created a "frozen " security zone which closed off virtually the entire north side of E. 79th St. Street between Madison and Fifth Avenue. This kept the protesters across the street from the Mayor's residence. Last Friday night however, cyclists from Times Up were allowed to protest a few feet from the Mayor's house. (@3:50)
Ms. Birnkrant said she was repeatedly threatened with arrest if she went across the street.
"I was very surprised that it wasn't even an option to go across the street. We were never given a straight answer why. We could have had a more effective protest right in front and Bloomberg would have had to walk past us. There is absolutely no reason why we should not have been allowed to be there."
I brought up the fact that only a week ago an organization protested there," Ms. Birnkrant continued, "and [the NYPD] repeatedly told me, 'No they didn't'. I was repeatedly lied to." (DCPI has not yet provided a comment when asked for a response).
Officials have maintained that the thinning of geese stock in the area will improve air safety and prevent geese strikes such as the one that downed US Airways Flight 1549 that miraculously landed on the Hudson River in January 2009.
“The thing to always remember in this New York situation is that we are talking about aviation and passenger and property safety, ” a spokeswoman for the federal Agriculture Department told the NY Times
However, opponents of the policy continually point out that the geese the government are killing are resident geese—not migratory geese that brought down the aircraft.
Last summer, more than twelve hundred Canadian geese were rounded up at 17 sites and euthanized under a program by the City, the Port Authority and the U.S, Department of Agriculture and more geese killing is on the way.
Officials plan to reduce the number of Canada geese in New York State by two thirds, eventually trimming the population to 85,000 from 250,000, according to a report prepared by several city, state and federal agencies, and obtained by the New York Times.
The report says the current goose population of 20,000 to 25,000 is “five times the amount that most people would find socially acceptable, ” suggesting the number would be reduced to about 4,000."
Instead of euthanizing the geese, animal rights groups are calling for habitat modification and the use of radar technology to discourage geese in and around airports.
Dozens geese have already returned to Prospect Park last week.
(Top) The NYPD set up a "frozen" security zone closing off virtually the entire north side of E. 79th St. Street between Madison and Fifth Avenue last night. This kept protesters across the street from the Mayor's residence on a narrow sidewalk. (below)
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