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Old July 14th, 2003, 08:31 AM
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Animal lovers cry foul over goose gassings

UNION COUNTY, N.J. - About 100,000 Canada geese have crossed the border into a New Jersey county, flapping among the residents and leaving their droppings wherever they go.

The influx of geese has caused a stink among the 500,000 people that live in the region's towns and cities.

"We would be glad to send them back to Canada," said Union County spokesman John Salerno.

Local officials call the geese a nuisance, saying their droppings are causing health and safety problems.

The county has rounded up hundreds of geese and killed them in portable gas chambers, angering animal lovers.

"It's genocide of a wild species," said Sue Russell with Center for Animal Protection.

New Jersey animal rights activists say there are non-lethal means of separating geese and people, such as using dogs to chase them away.

They charge that Union County chose gassing because it was fast and easy. "It's a horrific way to die for a human or a bird, especially birds as sensitive as Canada geese," said Russell.

Some New Jersey residents agree. Goose lover Hana Sedlackova says the community has been shattered by the gassings.

"It's like losing a pet, a member of the family really. It's brutal," she told CBC News.

The gassings have fuelled a movement that's pressuring some states to find ways to allow the geese to live in the community. But so far it's met without much success. Gassing remains a popular method of goose control in a number of places.

Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Canada geese have crossed the border and have now claimed the United States as their home.


Written by CBC News Online staff
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