Friends of Animals opposes DEC’s plan

By Tom Momberg

A New York nonprofit animal advocacy organization released a statement last week calling on state Gov. Andrew Cuomo to save mute swan populations.

Friends of Animals expressed outrage after the state Department of Environmental Conservation released its revised Draft Mute Swan Management Plan March 9.

The plan was an attempt by DEC to compromise in limiting the invasive species’ affect on other wildlife, but Friends of Animals said the plan disguises the state’s intent to eradicate the birds with soft language.

“Their new plan is the old insidious plan, with some new, distracting language thrown in,” said Edita Birnkrant, the campaign director for Friends of Animals. “Gov. Cuomo was apparently deceived by the DEC. He vetoed a bill that would have prevented the DEC’s extinction plan, promising the public that the agency’s revised plan would include parts of the legislation he vetoed that would protect swans from lethal management methods meant to completely wipe them out.”

The statement added, “Clearly Gov. Cuomo was fooled by bureaucrats who think the only good swan is a dead one.”

Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said last week that he would oppose the plan if animal protection groups did.

“The revised plan is the first step toward a better solution for mute swan management, but it may not be enough,” he said.

The revised plan vowed to regulate possession of mute swans for enjoyment in public parks and private residences, but would otherwise try to sterilize the feral populations.

Friends of Animals said privatization of swan ownership and controlled “zoo-like” settings should not be tolerated.

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