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Local News

WI Cities Face Pressure to Stop Euthanizing Geese

Credit: iStock

Mike Moen

If you’ve been to a Wisconsin park recently, chances are you have noticed lots of geese. Their populations have trended upward, and animal rights advocates urge municipalities to take euthanasia off their list of mitigation strategies. Mid-June is considered a key time for cities to carry out elements of their control plans, because that is when geese lose their flight feathers and grow new ones.

Mary Telfer, board president with the Alliance for Animals, said places like Madison and Mukwonago have turned to lethal options at various points. They round up geese and either euthanize them at meat processing plants or through gas chambers – actions she calls cruel and inhumane.

“These are highly intelligent birds and they have a strong family structure,” she contends. “They mourn when they lose a partner or a family member, or an egg.”

She added the gas is used for baby geese and results in a traumatic death. The group urges local agencies to stick with other strategies, like habitat modification. Madison officials sad they rely on several non-lethal practices, and euthanasia only as a last resort. Mitigation plans have become prominent as Canadian geese numbers have soared, prompting nuisance concerns.

Telfer explained it is understandable some people are annoyed about navigating bird poop, but added they might not be happy to know about the lethal action sometimes used to keep populations under control.

“I doubt very much – if someone is complaining about some goose poop and they call the park district to say, ‘Clean it up’ – I can’t imagine most people would be okay with this,” Telfer said.

Her organization is working with the group In Defense of Animals to sound the alarm over a planned “roundup” this summer in Mukwonago. That process is under the direction of the Phantom Lakes Management District, which could not be reached for comment. Residents who are concerned are urged to contact local officials, with more info at ‘AllAnimals.org.’ Cities that consider lethal strategies coordinate such efforts with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Disclosure: Alliance for Animals contributes to our fund for reporting on Animal Welfare, Endangered Species & Wildlife. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


How you can help Wisconsin Geese Alliance for Animals 2023

This story was written by Mike Moen, a producer at Public News Service, where this story first appeared.