SEATTLE – The City of Seattle’s annual cull of thousands of pesky Canada Geese has expanded this year to allow residents to “choke a delicious dinner for the whole family.”
“Canada Goose tastes like Chicken!” reads the banner headline on the City of Seattle web site ( www.seattle.gov ) announcing the new campaign to control the population of the city’s estimated 10,000 Branta Canadensis. The site includes recipes and has received more than 6,000 hits with the most downloaded recipe being how to barbecue the birds with a can of Canadian beer (Kokanee) inserted into the goose’s south end.
“Too many people were getting twisted ankles and smudges on their khakis from slipping on greasy goose poop,” said Todd Scarant, Seattle City Works Manager in charge of the 21st Annual Canada Goose Kill. “So this year, we’re encouraging people to go by a park or golf course and help us control this fowl population by wringing the neck of a goose or two.”
Seattle started the cull in 1992 after years of complaints that the noisy, aggressive Canadians hissed at them and dropped more than 3 pounds (1.36 kilograms) of green coiled feces per day.
But it was the alleged attack that year on a blind homeless nun by a gang of geese near Pike Place Market that drove Seattle City Council to finally approve the mobile gas chambers for the cull.
The controversial new program has brought out hundreds of animal rights protesters including PETA, and Westboro Baptist Church is picketing the cull with four heavyset church members being photographed at the UW campus with signs reading, “God Hates Gooses.”
A local rumor has it that Paul McCartney is skipping the Canadian seal hunt protest in Newfoundland this year and will join the local “Hug a Canada Goose” protest campaign.
“We expect the usual protestors,” said Scarant. “Poor beautiful geese. Sweet little baby goslings being stepped on and squashed. We get all that. But people change their minds pretty quickly if they get a welt on their hands from being pecked.”
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says the City hopes the Choke program catches on and reduces the Canada Goose population and the number of bird carcasses the City normally has to dump in the harbor.
“I choked a 10 pounder (4.5 kilogramer) two days ago and roasted it with fresh Rosemary and wow was that good eatin’,” he said at the program launch from the base of the Seattle Space Needle. “I’m heading out now to wring the neck of another goose so I can try the curry recipe I just found.”
Reportering for The Lapine