Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bend's Goosegate Ruffles Feathers in Canada

Posted By on Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 8:07 PM

I knew Bend’s mass Canada goose execution would cause consternation among local animal lovers, but who could have guessed it would touch off an international incident?

Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration – but some Canadians are seriously pissed off about it.

“Canadians shocked by Ore. goose gassing,” headlined a UPI report. “Residents of Vancouver, British Columbia, expressed shock at [Bend’s] actions, with some walking around Stanley Park describing the culling as ‘barbaric’ and ‘crazy.’

“Aaron Jasper, head of the Vancouver Park Board, said he was surprised by the decision. ‘We don't take the approach of culling them. I think, if there's deemed to be a bit of a problem with the population, our staff will identify the nests, and we'll shake the eggs, and that's how we address the issue of overpopulation,’ Jasper said.”

The story about the Bend Metro Park & Recreation District sending 109 of Bend’s resident geese to their deaths in a carbon dioxide gas chamber has been picked up by major news outlets across Canada, including the Montreal Gazette (which referred to the geese as “iconic birds”), Canadian public television, the Winnipeg Free Press and the Toronto Sun.

Although the Canada goose is not Canada’s official national bird – it doesn’t have one yet – Canadians apparently have a warm spot in their hearts for the stately fowl. The Canadian Raptor Conservancy is conducting a poll to pick a national bird, and the goose currently is in second place behind the red-tailed hawk.

And to add insult to injury, the Bend goose massacre took place on July 1 – Canada Day.

Hopefully this unpleasantness will blow over soon and Americans and Canadians will return to their historic good-neighbor policy.

Meanwhile, a memorial service for the slain geese will be held tomorrow evening in Drake Park. Mary Sojourner, one of the organizers of the event, told KBND: “Having dodged dog deposits in the same park, it's very easy not to step in goose poop. So, [it was] very troubling to me that innocent creatures who don't kill others, don't cheat on each other, don't profit on each other were murdered.”

The service will take place at 7 pm near the Galveston Street bridge. Grieving Canadians are welcome.

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