I spoke during the 3-minute public comment section at the Park Board meeting tonight, along with sending an email to the board earlier today. It’s the second year in a row that the board has been waffle-y about whether or not they plan to kill Canada Geese, or at what number of geese the decision will be made. Two years ago they killed 109 geese with very little opportunity for public comment. The problem is good poop in the parks, and a perceived overpopulation of resident geese. Since then, due to lots of pressure and help from Goose Watch Alliance, they have initiated strong programs of egg oiling and dog hazing, which have been very successful in keeping the number of resident geese in check.
A week ago they said they had “no intention” of “euthanizing” geese this year. But one soon-to-retire board member has since made comments that they are still keeping it “on the table” as a last resort, and this same board member changed the target number of geese a few times.
As usual, when we showed up in person, the board seemed very friendly and open to suggestions, at the same time implying that rumors had gotten out of hand, and that, again, they have no intention of killing any geese this year. That they had to get the “depredation” permit months in advance, and that they need that permit to relocate the juvenile geese to a Southern Oregon reserve (which they still plan to do).
They all smile and nod and act like the information we give them is new to them (even though most of it was the same info that we gave them last year.) Sigh. It gets old. But hopefully due to public pressure the geese will be spared another year.
Today, good news: Bend Park & Recreation District announced in an abrupt turnaround that they will not kill any Canada Geese this year in Bend! I’m sure we don’t know everything that precipitated this decision, but we hope the constant pressure we put on BPRD to give humane methods a chance had something to do with it. A small, but important victory for Goose Watch Alliance. As I’m sure you’ve heard before:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead
Note: They are going to relocate an unspecified amount of “juveniles,” which will be traumatic for parents and young, breaking up families, and which will not affect the population in the long run because there are lots more geese in the area ready to move in to the parks. But the young are resilient and hopefully adult geese at the Summer Lake refuge will mentor them. And maybe as BPRD learns even more about humane methods of Canada Goose management, even this will not be necessary next year.
BPRD press release.
My friend Foster has tirelessly advocated for the geese, collecting 500+ signatures almost single-handedly, jumping through all the hoops for freedom of information act document requests, and fearlessly putting respectful but relentless pressure on the park board. This is the quote that came to his mind today:
The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.
– Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957
Tonight I am anxious, on edge. I’m afraid that Bend Park and Recreation District is going to kill more Canada Geese any day, like they gassed 109 of them last summer. — Without any regard to which were residents, or migratory, or to family units. — In spite of the efforts of GeesePeace, Bend’s Goose Watch Alliance, and many other concerned citizens to work with them. — In spite of widespread public opposition.
They’ve already obtained the permit. And they did it in secret last year during the last month of June. This is where my tax dollars are going. This is what makes me sick. To read more about the issues surrounding Canada Goose population management, or to take action if you live in Bend, please visit the sites above, visit Uncle Goose on Facebook, or listen to the latest All Things Vegan radio show, where we interview a local wildlife conservationist about this very issue.
And be sure to visit Bend’s spot (as Oregon’s only representative) on the Canada Goose Hall of Shame.
reflect on this year and manifest what’s next
Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
Local: I’ve discovered community in a small group of individuals dedicated to exposing and opting out of participating in cruelties and abuses to animals, and promoting compassion for both people and animals through everyday actions and advocacy. This includes my vegan friends through VegNet, and also my geese alliance friends. Tonight, I’ve returned from a Bend Park & Recreation District board meeting where we spoke up about our support for continuing humane, non-lethal methods of controlling resident Canada geese populations, in order to avoid the killing of more geese. (109 Canada Geese were killed last summer in Bend by Parks & Rec, in conjunction with the USDA.)
Worldwide: The vegan and animal rights community is welcoming, and growing rapidly. We network with groups from as close as Portland to those on the east coast. Podcasts and blogs from around the world keep me on top of regional and global issues and connected with the larger movement. I feel like I’m absolutely in the right place at the right time with a great group of people who are actively working to change the world for the better.
In 2011, I’d like to continue to bring compassionate people together to talk about and take action for issues that affect both humans and animals in our community. Whether through potlucks, the radio show, or other creative non-violent vegan education, I hope to more deeply connect with my local community as well as the global community. Because animals, like people, matter. And how we treat our animals—whether domesticated animals destined for food, wildlife living in our urban areas or wild lands or waters, or those we choose as companions—reflects on our community as a whole.