New York state senator calls for ban on swan cull

Environmental officials in N.Y. want to slaughter 2,200 mute swans by 2025.
Posted By Brooks Hays  |  Updated March 3, 2014 at 11:17 AM
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ALBANY, N.Y., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Biologists with New York's Department of Environmental Conservation say the state's swan population has gotten too big. The agency claims the species is displacing native birds, getting in the way of airplanes and acting aggressive towards people.

Conservation officials are working on getting the wild mute swans listed as an invasive species, paving the way for the agency to move ahead with its proposal to kill 2,200 swans by 2025.

Tony Avella, the state senator from Queens, is trying thwart the swan slaughter. This week Avella proposed a bill that would postpone the DEC's plan for two years.

"I was horrified to learn that our state wildlife agency would make such an extreme, unfounded proposal, and do not believe that the DEC has provided evidence to justify the elimination of these beautiful swans," Avella said.

Hugh Raffles, a professor of anthropology at the New School, argued in a recent New York Times' op-ed that the DEC study was full of "markedly inconclusive science." Raffles argued that New Yorkers should not kill swans but "pay attention to their struggle to survive and what it can tell us about the state of our state."

Mute swans, noted for their elegance and beauty, were imported from Europe during the second half of the 19th century to decorate the lawns of wealthy estates.

[University Herald] [New York Times]

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