City and federal agencies ignore public outcry over planned slaughter of Canada geese in Denver

For Immediate Release

July 7, 2020

Carole Woodall, Canada Geese Protection Colorado,

DENVER _ Canada Geese Protection Colorado (CGPC) anticipates that Denver Parks and Recreation and its contractor, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Division, will, at any moment, begin the unethical round up and slaughter of up to 4,000 resident Canada geese in Colorado, process them, feed them to those suffering food insecurity, and, in doing so, fail to heed the voice of citizens and experts calling for an end to this unnecessary and cruel injustice to humans and animals alike.

On Monday, July 6, 2020, Judge Raymond P. Moore, United States District Judge for the District of Colorado, denied a motion for preliminary injunction in which CGPC and Friends of Animals (FoA) sought to enjoin Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services from culling up to 4,000 resident Canada geese. The culling was scheduled to begin as soon as July 1, 2020, despite CGPC’s and FoA’s lawsuit filed on June 5, 2020.

In the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Colorado, CGPC and FoA challenged the collective actions of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Wildlife Services, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) authorizing the lethal take of 4,000 Canada geese in 2020. CGPC and FoA state that the Environmental Assessment relies on outdated data on Canada geese populations in Colorado; fails to consider the removal of 1,662 geese from four Denver parks in 2019; and neglects to conduct any analysis concerning the health risks associated with consuming the goose meat, thus violating the National Environmental Policy Act. Furthermore, the depredation permit obtained by the USDA on April 9, 2020 authorizing the slaughter is not lawful under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in situations in which migratory birds are merely causing a perceived nuisance.

“This lawsuit is an absolute necessity because it calls into question a profit-driven government agency that’s making decisions for the benefit of stakeholders while silencing the voices of advocates for America’s wildlife. The membership of Canada Geese Protection Colorado stands with Friends of Animals to speak for and protect principles of equity in the treatment of wildlife and our community at large,” said Carole Woodall of Canada Geese Protection Colorado, a grassroots organization formed in 2019 by local residents.

For the second year in a row, Denver Parks and Recreation is attempting to rely on killing geese as a method of addressing the perceived nuisance of Canada geese resident in Denver parks. In 2019, without any substantive, transparent, or meaningful public engagement or notification, and in direct violation of its own policies, Denver Parks and Recreation hatched and executed a misguided, lazy plan to capture and slaughter Denver’s resident Canada geese because they do not regard them as sentient beings with a right to their own existence, are too lazy to clean our parks of goose feces, listened to an elite group calling for lethal population control, and were impatient, looking for a quick fix to a problem they created. Numerous humane alternatives to control the population and impact of Canada geese exist, such as habitat modification, hazing, egg oiling, public education, cleaning, and more.

Additionally, in a failed attempt to gloss over the cruelty of their actions and garner public support, Denver Parks and Recreation asked that the 1,662 Canada geese captured and killed last year be processed and donated to food pantries in Colorado, without regard to the fact that Denver’s resident Canada geese feed in parks where pesticides are applied and breathe polluted air over the course of their entire lives. Apparently, Denver’s government holds Canada geese, those experiencing food insecurity, and the voice of outraged citizens in equal disregard.

CGPC hopes that the City of Denver will rethink its 2020 plan to kill Canada geese again, and instead set an example of humane and respectful treatment of Canada geese and the voices of all of Denver’s citizens.

You can read the denial of the preliminary injunction here, the lawsuit here, and Friends of Animal’s press release about the lawsuit here.

Canada Geese Protection Colorado, LLC is a grassroots organization, which was formed in 2019 by local residents outraged by the slaughter of geese in Denver’s parks. CGPC’s mission is to support peaceful activism and meaningful outreach to encourage the City and County of Denver to stop killing geese, shift to humane methods of goose management, engage and notify the public in a meaningful manner, and support our food insecure citizens with healthy, non-pesticide-laden food.

Friends of Animals, an international animal advocacy organization founded in N.Y. in 1957 and headquartered in Darien, CT, advocates for the rights of free-living and domestic animals. FoA is proud to be a woman-founded and -led organization for more than 60 years. 

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