Sorry, but we are not convinced.
This week’s effort by the federal government to justify its horrifying slaughter of close to 300 geese in Prospect Park remains undermined by subterfuge and doubletalk by the officials who carried out this “crime,” as Councilman Brad Lander called it at last week’s vigil for the murdered animals.
On our front page this week, a spokeswoman for the federal agency that conducted the middle-of-the-night suffocations of Prospect Park’s geese dismissed the well-documented and scientifically supported notion that resident fowl, like those in Brooklyn, pose little threat to airliners at New York’s two distant airfields.
The feds’ original argument, of course was that all birds within a seven-mile radius of John F. Kennedy Airport needed to be slaughtered. But there’s one thing the jackbooted thugs of the USDA didn’t consider: Prospect Park is more than seven miles from JFK.
So now USDA spokeswoman Carol Bannerman is trotting out a new rationale for the slaughter, claimed that the birds needed to die because “80 percent of bird strikes [against aircraft] occur under 1,000 feet, when a plane is either taking off or landing … and most vulnerable!”
But airplanes descending over Prospect Park are above 1,000 feet — outside of the very range that Bannerman now requires a death sentence for geese.
Worse, city officials concealed their larger plans when they announced this year’s installment of the “Canada Geese mitigation measures,” a euphemism for mass executions of animals — the very animals we encourage to live among us by providing such a nice lake and habitat in Prospect Park, by the way.
In the June press release, the city cited the now-repudiated seven-mile rule as the justification for its so-called “safety measures”, and mentioned only Flushing Meadows–Corona Park and Fort Totten Park — both of which are in Queens and very close to LaGuardia Airport.
Prospect Park was never mentioned, yet we know that Park officials and the mayor’s office had the park on its hit list at the time.
A secret execution list? A middle-of-the-night incursion? That hardly instills public confidence that this operation was conducted with a full vetting of the objective facts about non-lethal methods that could have been employed.