Local view: Duluth, don’t scapegoat, condemn Canada geese to death – Duluth News Tribune
A Minnesota member of Friends of Animals has drawn our attention to the fact that Canada geese are being used as scapegoats by state and local leaders in Minnesota to address an environmental concern that leaders have self-imposed by authorizing years of unbridled industrial activities.
In September, the Duluth City Council shamefully endorsed a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources plan to cull more than 300 birds next summer, accusing them of thwarting wild rice restoration efforts on the St. Louis. The goal is to create 275 acres of wild rice for wildlife habitat and for its important cultural heritage for the Ojibwe people (“Duluth to consider goose-management plan in battle to restore wild rice,” September 22).
The gassing process the agency proposes to use simultaneously burns and freezes the birds’ lungs up to 45 minutes before their supposedly “humane” death. Gassing is totally inappropriate for geese which can hold their breath for long periods of time.
Sulfates are what devastates wild rice, according to a 2020 study from the Minnesota Environmental Partnership. The study found that although efforts have been made to adequately address sulphate pollution, no real solution has materialized. For example, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency proposed a standard for sulfate in wild rice waters to limit releases, but the standard was simultaneously not strong enough to help wild rice and too strong to taste. Of the industry. APC also abandoned efforts to establish a total maximum daily load plan for the St. Louis River watershed, despite the willingness of partners in Wisconsin, the Fond du Lac Band, and the federal government to go forward.
Upstream from Duluth, the state’s most dangerous and polluting mine may still open if PolyMet Mining is successful. While PolyMet has obtained the approvals it needs to operate in 2019, three key permits the company needs to continue remain suspended due to ongoing litigation. Fortunately, this summer the Environmental Protection Agency recommended not reissuing PolyMet’s permit, saying the project risked increasing levels of mercury and other pollutants in the St. Louis River downstream. of the proposed mine.
It is absurd that the DNR is touting an archaic, myopic plan such as killing Canada geese – a federally protected species – to help restore wild rice. A new herd will simply replace the exterminated one. The best long-term solution is the fencing of exclosures to deter Canada geese. The DNR admits wild goose exclosures – orange plastic snow fences around rice – have been successful in Kingsbury Bay. Friends of Animals supports this type of humane, non-lethal solution.
After all, it’s not the Canada geese’s fault that wild rice has stopped growing near Duluth. Heads of state must be prepared to put the environment and Canada geese first.
Priscilla Feral is president of Friends of Animals (
), an international animal welfare organization in Darien, Connecticut.