On Sunday, June 26, the city of Parksville, BC lured approximately 484 Canada geese into a tennis court where they were each shot in the skull with a bolt gun in a mass cull led by the city.

The cull is part of the city’s controversial goose management strategy, the result of geese being viewed as “pests.”

“Geese are part of the ecosystem, unlike surrounding activities.  Blaming them is just an easy diversion – the geese can’t fight back,” said Liz White, leader of the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada, in an interview with Lady Freethinker. “When we don’t like what animals do – when they inconvenience us – our inclination is to kill them as opposed to seeking other more effective alternatives.”

The relatively large population of geese in Parksville impacts parks, playgrounds, and the estuary. Geese prefer to be in grassy areas adjacent to water. Naturally, they eat the grass and, as animals do, leave excrement behind. This is one of the main factors contributing to residents seeing them as pests and the city’s decision to cull.

White and her party have been working on the culling issue for years, and are fighting for alternative strategies to the slaughter. The party, along with other animal advocacy groups, has developed a manual offering several alternatives to slaughter, including habitat modification.

“Habitat modification is the single key activity that will allow for long term non-lethal mitigation measures for the molt migrants, but a different approach needs to be used for the nesting geese.” said White. “Knowing whether the birds are nesting or molting is important because it has implications for humane, effective, cost efficient goose management strategies.”

According to the manual, habitat modification can be achieved through various natural landscaping techniques, and offers both an ecological and humane means of reducing human/goose conflicts without killing.

Learn more about the efforts to stop the cull here.