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Controversial Geese Program Halted

USDA informs Ocean County that population has been sufficiently controlled and further killings of geese are not needed

No more Canada geese will be killed in Ocean County. For 2012, at least.

Ocean County Freeholder John Bartlett announced on Tuesday that the US Department of Agriculture has informed the county that the population of resident Canada geese has been controlled enough that "there is no necessity of any further geese roundup this spring. It is over."

Bartlett said that 10 geese were killed this spring, but the bigger impact of the program with the USDA has been the egg addling.

"I asked the parks department to put together records and over the last 11 years, 1,309 eggs have been addled, preventing them from hatching," Bartlett said.

For the fourth straight meeting, members of the several animal rights groups were on hand to protest the goose roundups. This time, however, David Sauder, president of the Animal Rights Activists of New Jersey, thanked the freeholders for sitting down with him and representatives of several organizations, including Geese Peace and the Humane Society of the United States, to hear their suggestions for nonlethal means of controlling and discouraging the resident geese from settling at the county's parks.

Sauder also urged the board once more to suspend the contract with the USDA, to which Bartlett responded with the announcement of the USDA's report.

Bartlett said the freeholders would continue to look at nonlethal methods for discouraging geese from settling in certain areas, including flashing lights at night that are supposed to disturb the animals. But he also said the county would not rule out using the USDA again should other methods fail to keep the goose population in check.

Bartlett did agree, however, that the particular method the USDA uses -- herding the geese into cages and then gassing them with carbon dioxide -- presented images that evoked powerful reactions.

"I think we have an obligation to look into other methods," Bartlett said, adding that he felt the USDA also should consider other methods, or at least be able to show the gassing is not inhumane, as they are the ones taking the responsibility for the resident goose population. It was the USDA years ago who bred geese in captivity to help support the dwindling migratory Canada goose population, Bartlett said, but the program had an unexpected consequence because the new geese never migrated.

"Our first obligation is to have clean parks," Bartlett said.

Kathleen Cook July 07, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Canada geese don't come from Canada. I believe that the species was named by a man named Canada. They do reside in Canada, though. But then they're all over the place.
Kathleen Cook July 07, 2012 at 09:20 PM
I don't know where you live, but I live in Sussex County NJ . We have a lot of parks & I haven't seen any problems in them. The problems arise when people keep feeding them.
Ed Taylor July 12, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Correct about the Canadian Geese. We have them here in northern CA as well.
Willy Nilly July 12, 2012 at 11:11 PM
GOOD! Finally this merciless slaughter by arrogant people is finally over! I hope nothing like this ever takes place again.
ASteinberg July 12, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Gerald - you can never rest on hope, because anytime an agency like the USDA can make money they will, and township leaders have short memories. They just killed 750 geese in a wildlife refuge in NY and also killed in Virginia. There are rotten selfish people everywhere. What is needed is people to form an intelligent group and demand transparency and responsiblity from the leadership and be a part of the information and solution. Trust me, you can never rest.

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