Geese Gassing Proposal Has Residents Crying Fowl

Officials plan to kill geese in a gas chambers to reduce large populations

A plan to use gas chambers to manage the population of Canada geese isn't sitting well with residents in one South Jersey community.

Large gaggles of geese have overrun parts of Mt. Laurel Township, N.J., leaving droppings all over community parks and reducing space that would typically be used for play.

"The geese problem is getting worse.  The water quality is going downhill," said resident James Suleski. "You’ll see more of this algae bloom more every year. It just looks like French onion soup under the water. It’s just disgusting."

The large quantity of goose refuse is also considered an “aesthetic” concern by the township, officials say.

To deal with the growing population township officials have been given a euthanization permit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They plan to use gas chambers to humanely put down the animals.

But the proposed practice is being opposed by residents and animal activist groups.

"We need to do better as people. Those birds have just as much as right to life as we do and happiness as we all do," resident Wayne Person told community leaders at a heated town meeting Monday.

The Humane Society of America agrees with that sentiment. They distributed postcards to local residents urging them to attend Monday's meeting and oppose the move.

The township says they've tried many different techniques to control the population to no avail.

These attempts include geese repellant, chasing, and rules against feeding the birds. Additionally, the township has placed items such as rocks on the perimeters of local lakes in hopes of eventually lowering the geese population.

Officials say gassing the fowls is the quickest and most humane way to reduce the population.

"We really don’t want to do that, but they have to do something because they’re a little out of control and they’re mean," agrees resident Jennifer DiSandro.

The township has already entered into a contract with the USDA to euthanize the geese and plan to follow through with the project.

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