Cull better not horrify kids again

By Don Farmer don.farmer@age.co.nz

1 comment
...it was a killing spree that distressed many people unfortunate enough to witness the birds being shot, having their necks wrung or being bludgeoned to death.
...it was a killing spree that distressed many people unfortunate enough to witness the birds being shot, having their necks wrung or being bludgeoned to death.

CANADA geese are again in the firing line at Henley Lake where, it is said, a proliferation of the far from clean and tidy birds is creating a real yuck situation.

According to Masterton district councillors, the birds breed like crazy and defecate in much the same way, deterring families from visiting the lake and upsetting those who do and who have to step round the poo.

At a council committee meeting this week, there was a brief discussion on when a possible cull could take place, presumably by shooting, and a few other control ideas arose including sneaking off with most of the eggs. Most -- not all -- because that would only encourage the geese to organise the laying of a fresh clutch, it seems.

It was not hard to also detect a distinct feeling the councillors were intent on ensuring any cull being done had to be done in a much better fashion than the last one.

That was in the summer of 2010/2011, when the manner of the cull jointly organised by the council and Fish and Game caused outrage. Without wanting to dwell too much on the past, it was a killing spree that distressed many people unfortunate enough to witness the birds being shot, having their necks wrung or being bludgeoned to death. Some of those people were children.

This time it appears the council will be enlisting the support of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, and from what has so far been said a cull this year will be a much more humane affair.

That the birds are pests is not disputed. Why they were ever introduced many decades ago is one of life's great mysteries, but then so is the introduction of gorse, Scotch thistles and rabbits.

There is open season on shooting Canada geese because they are officially classified as pests and the shooting of them is not governed by game-bird regulations.

That does not mean people can blat away at them in built-up areas such as Henley Lake, but it does mean farmers and other rural dwellers don't have to sit idly by watching the birds march across pastures, leaving them a slimy mess.

Let's hope when this year's cull is finally organised those charged with the task remember to carry it out humanely and in such a manner the lake and its foreshore benefit from it.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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