New York (AFP) – In Britain, wild swans may be prized for their beauty and protected by the Queen, but the U.S. state of New York has declared war on them, branding them a violent menace.
Draft proposals to kill or resettle the state’s 2,200 wild mute swans by 2025 may be supported by some conservationists but have sparked uproar among animal rights activists.
Mute swans were brought to North America by European settlers to adorn their estates in the late 1800s but the authorities no longer consider them a beauty worthy of roaming free.
The New York state department of environmental conservation says swans attack people, destroy vegetation, pose a threat to jetliners and damage water because their feces contain e coli.
Ever since U.S. Airways flight 1549 collided with a flock of geese in 2009 and landed on the Hudson river, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has set about annually culling Canada geese.
Now the New York state conservation department wants to expand the offensive and eliminate free-ranging mute swans by 2025, killing them or allowing “responsible ownership” of the birds in captivity.
“Lethal control methods will include shooting of free-ranging swans and live capture and euthanasia in accordance with established guidelines for wildlife,” said the draft proposal.
Nests would also be destroyed, and eggs oiled, punctured or sterilized to prevent hatching, it added.
Pressure group Goose Watch NYC, which was set up to protest against the geese culls, demanded the plan be scrapped.