SIUE Backs Off Controversial Plan To Capture, Kill Canada Geese After Campus Backlash

Categories: Animals

geese-seiu.jpg
via change.org
Predator...or prey?
The geese that roam the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville can be aggressive and threatening -- and sometimes even attack humans. At least this is the case according to some campus officials, who announced yesterday morning in an e-mail to students a plan to gather up geese on campus and transport them to a "processing center" where they would be "processed into food products." This news immediately sparked backlash from animal-rights advocates who mobilized a petition online to "stop SIUE from trapping and killing the geese residing on campus."

"There are a lot of reasons that I love this school," Lindan Noel, a grad student who started the change.org petition, tells Daily RFT. "But if they went through with this, I would be very upset."

She adds, "I don't know of anyone who has been injured by a goose."

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Yesterday afternoon when Daily RFT spoke with Doug McIlhagga, director of marketing and external affairs at SIUE, he explained to us that this was necessary for safety on campus.

seiu-geese-campus.jpg
via YouTube
SIUE geese caught on video.

"Sometimes they swoop down on people entering their offices or residences," he says. "Moms get upset when they frighten small children. You have a variety of situations."

But a short while later, officials on campus sent out another e-mail to students: The plan to remove the geese -- which the university had called the "Canada Goose Charity Harvest" -- was cancelled.

That short e-mail from Kenn Neher, vice chancellor for university administration, says in full:

After considering feedback from the University community, I have decided to cancel the planned Canada Goose Charity Harvest in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture. The University will continue to pursue other USDA approved methods to control and discourage the population.

On a second phone call after that e-mail reached students, McIlhagga tells us, "We decided that we will take a step back and go back to the method that we've been trying to use."

seiu-geese.jpg
via change.org

These "non-lethal" methods involve managing and removing eggs and nests, he says.

So the geese will definitely not be killed?

"At this stage in the game, the charity harvest has been cancelled," he says.

seiu-geese-youtube.jpg
via YouTube
SIUE geese caught on video.

Prior to this change in plans, Noel, a 23-year-old public administration masters student, who also attended SIUE as an undergraduate, was organizing support online to pressure the university to rethink its plans.

"I don't really think that there's that big of a problem," she says. "They are making it sound like geese are attacking people all the time on a regular basis.... I've been at the campus for five years. I've never once been attacked by a goose."

The possibility of them being shipped off to their death was upsetting to her, she says. "That's really unnecessary and...inhumane."

The original e-mail that sparked the whole controversy said that "the SIUE administration has determined that to ensure the safety and well-being of its faculty, staff, students and guests that an effort needs to be made to manage the damage that Canada geese cause on campus."

That e-mail said the "non-lethal methods" have not been successful and that the population has continued to grow, which is why the university would consider a "charity harvest" event in the next month or so.

The geese would be gathered up while they are "molting," which means they would not be able to fly.

Eventually, they would be processed into food products and given to charities and "needy individuals."

McIlhagga (in our chat prior to the reversed decision) tells us that between March 1 and mid-May in Cougar Village, one part of campus, there were fifteen "documented situations of aggressive behavior toward humans."

He says, "That becomes an issue for us...as we try to present the safest campus possible."

He says it also costs just over $7,000 annually to address clean-up and various population-control efforts.

Currently, he says, there are about 40 hanging around on campus that are visible, but adds that this spring, there were at least 125 nests on campus.

"We know we are always going to have geese," he says. "The goal is to make it a more manageable situation."

Here's a copy of the full original e-mail he sent out:

Dear SIUE Students, The SIUE administration has determined that to ensure the safety and well-being of its faculty, staff, students and guests that an effort needs to be made to manage the damage that Canada geese cause on campus.

There are many documented instances regarding geese attacking individuals, building nests close to building entrances that have hampered staff and students from entering their daily place of business and other aggressive behavior.

Over the past 10 years, the University has attempted a variety of non-lethal methods in attempts to attain a balanced population. Despite these efforts to manage the population, it has continued to grow and become overly abundant in recent years. As a result, the Chancellor's Council has approved an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to perform a "Charity Harvest." This event will occur approximately between mid-June and mid-July.

- The geese are gathered up while they are molting flight feathers and cannot fly

- After capture, they are humanely transported to a processing center

- They are processed into food products and provided to charitable organizations for distribution to needy individuals

This technique has been used effectively in many states throughout the Midwest.

The strategy will bring the goose population on campus to an appropriate and safe level, while creating an optimal balance between the positive values and conflicts with resident Canada geese.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


My Voice Nation Help
55 comments
Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd

Yes. Then feed them to the homeless.

Rachel Roach
Rachel Roach

Sex offender season, they are a nuisance, lets kill all of them, im sure they are all over the campus right now...

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

Yes. Kill them. Cook them. They are food. Feed hungry people. Control the population of geese. There are way too many of them. It is a conservation effort. It is irresponsible to not control the population of geese.

Leslee Brown
Leslee Brown

I thought that Canadian geese were a protected species

Douglas Dial
Douglas Dial

Let them stay and multiply. Include them as a feature in advertising the school to potential students and their parents. I'm sure they'll be a great boost to enrollment. Think of all the money the school will make....or lose if I'm wrong. I love that the school is following state leader's example by adopting the Illinois way of doing things....by not doing anything.

Allison Benoit
Allison Benoit

I'm an alum of SIUE and never had a problem with the geese. Neither did anyone I know who went there. I was fairly active on campus in both classes and activities, worked on campus, and lived in the on-campus apartments. The only thing about the geese that was a nuisance to me or anyone I knew was their poop being all over the place. That's not worth killing them over.

Justice Rising
Justice Rising

hey can i have the wing feathers that would be cool

Andrew Jovanovic
Andrew Jovanovic

I think people should be able to defend themselves definitely. But the school should detour them somehow from attacking people who pay to learn and not be attacked.

Benny Brewton
Benny Brewton

If you are unfamiliar with SIUE it's important to point out we have very FEW PONDS but a HUGE LAKE

Joyce Boswell
Joyce Boswell

Capture them and deport them back to Canada. Don't kill them.

Marshall Patrick
Marshall Patrick

absolutely if they attack people......take them all to Ladan's house

Karen Gagich
Karen Gagich

unfortunate the geese are perceived as an enemy. let nature be.....

Dave Muser
Dave Muser

SIUE created the problem 40 years ago. Killing them is kind of overboard but I guess they're looking for the cheapest solution possible.

Thaddeus Starbuckle
Thaddeus Starbuckle

People are stupid. Those geese are a nuisance. They should allow a certain number to be killed and eaten every year. Same with the deer. The campus is overrun.

Rachel Roach
Rachel Roach

WOW, you must be a super-duper senior huh?

Tina Schlemer
Tina Schlemer

Get RID of the STUPID PONDS if you want rid of the geese

Lindsay Duggan
Lindsay Duggan

Agreed. People are the problem here, not the geese

Ladan Wanderlust
Ladan Wanderlust

I think it's absolutely absurd. I am a alumni of SIUE and never had a problem. Every other species can survive without humans. Respect, people! It's not always about you.

Samuel Borders
Samuel Borders

I just graduated from SIUE and I can say for a fact they are a problem. I was attacked twice by those geese. They block entrances and are a menace. Maybe they shouldn't kill them, but capturing them and moving them elsewhere should happen.

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

Eat the things...don't just kill them and waste them. Holy cow...that is what is wrong this country...people are way too soft hearted. Those same people will go to a fancy party and eat goose liver. So silly. I'm a country girl...let me take care of those geese for ya. Problem would be over in an afternoon and some people would be having a banquet with free food. Paleaseeeeeeee people...use some brains.

Mike Bahr
Mike Bahr

Had to be the students, the campus is private property, non studen activists dont have access.

Michael L Berardi
Michael L Berardi

Those damn geese would charge you especially when their young were around. I had to swing a bag pack a few times because they followed me, hissing and flapping their wings.

Jazmin Victoria Shipley
Jazmin Victoria Shipley

Provoked? How about WALKING ON THE SIDEWALK. I have more sense than to approach them, especially if there are young ones! Geese that are around people all the time begin to become bold and mean too. I've been attacked eating my BREAKFAST walking to class because people feed them. Jesus Christ, not everyone is an idiot who doesn't know not to approach their nests. I'm not a fan of flying things, so I avoid them. I'm pretty sure walking in a designated area does not constitute "provoking" them.

Blake Harris
Blake Harris

Could have a big ole goose dinner for the campus

Joshua Lewis
Joshua Lewis

I went there years ago and they do attack but it's only when you approach their nests. Just be aware. Everyone knows where they nest. If you don't ask someone. They are annoying but I'll take a beautiful wildlife filled campus over a office park any day. SIUE had one of the most beautiful campuses anywhere. Enjoy it.

Jason Brock
Jason Brock

Teach them a lesson, poke them with sticks.

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

I've lived near Geese for years, they have never attacted, have to ask what these stupid people are doing to these Geese, they are being provoked & only protecting themselves...

Karen Hall
Karen Hall

the need to be removed. they're awful creatures and are dangerous.

Cassie Hutchings
Cassie Hutchings

i seriously hated those geese. They were mean and pooped all over the place.

Kristina Kersting
Kristina Kersting

Sarah Candler-Thieret Marie Mitan Kathy Mitan Laidlaw Michael L Berardi Natalie Lading-Berardi Angie Mokriakow Berni John Allyn Niebruegge Rick Crossin Greg Roy Casey Rusin

Lindsay Duggan
Lindsay Duggan

I lose more and more of my faith in humanity after reading these comments. People are so cruel.

Ian Brooks
Ian Brooks

Thinking I'll have some duck/goose brats tonight. Thanks for the idea PETA pukes!

Kyle Jones
Kyle Jones

That's saying a lot , coming from you Ian

Ian Brooks
Ian Brooks

I'd rather keep the geese, than the PETA vermin

Kim Hayes
Kim Hayes

Screw geese. They are mean and aggressive. They were an issue when I was at UMSL a decade ago.

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