To the editor:
I am all for animal protection, as well as humanely euthanizing problem animals. (In the past), I lobbied for change to protect the Wild Horses of Alberta, and was the co-founder of that society and helped many feral horses get a second chance at being gentled and re-homed.
So what’s the point of all this? I was driving the other day on Mackenzie Road, which runs along side Old Vernon Road and saw a field full of hundreds of geese. Here a goose, there a goose, everywhere a goose, goose. They covered the landscape of the vineyards and orchards. Whereas there was wire up to discourage entry they were there nonetheless. According to an internet source, in one day a goose defecates every 20 minutes and leaves 1.5 lbs or 680.389 grams worth of feces behind. Multiply that by the possible 500 birds I saw, this is 750 lbs or 340.194 kilograms of poop.
Their droppings can carry various pathogens such as chlamydias, e-col i, listeria, pasteurella – multocida and salmonella bacteria through their feces and nasal discharge or the pasteurella through a bite. The larger the number of these birds concentrated over an area, the larger the chances of them carrying these pathogens, as well as HSN1 Avian flu. Their feces affect the land, crops, and air quality as well.
As it turns out, dogs (especially border collies), are an effective way to keep them off the land, along with destroying of the eggs to reduce numbers. Using propane scare cannons is another method but is also known to drive humans crazy with the constant booming. And whereas the gun-toting goose culler (Capital News, March 2, 2107) seemed rather crass, and rather abhorrent in his methods, of tearing their heads off by hand, he did nonetheless, kill the birds humanely by shooting them first, and assisted some horse owners to protect their livestock’s feed sources.
However, he may also have inadvertently exposed himself to the aforementioned diseases.
It is recommended that when handling wild fowl, to wear gloves, wash the bottoms of one’s shoes and wash the dogs paws after chasing, to prevent the spread of these agents. The witness had the option of walking away after determining that the cull was legal and not watch the ensuing carnage. Just as you have the choice to change the channel on TV when a program is offensive to you.
The goose culler obviously was trained in firearm usage and likely was quite careful to make sure no one was wandering around in the said field. All the same, the goose was cooked and the story gave most everyone a case of goose pimples at the thought of it.
Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel, Kelowna
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