250 Canada geese to be killed on the Saanich Peninsula

VANCOUVER – The Capital Regional District on Vancouver Island has announced its plans for a geese cull to take place soon.

Due to the Canada geese eating farmer’s crops, it has been decided that 250 on the Saanich Peninsula will be killed by having their necks broken. The cull will take place before the end of the month. Two hundred and fifty is the maximum number that can be killed because geese are a protected species.

The BC SPCA said it is sympathetic to the overpopulation issue, but added the cull needs to be done in a humane way.

“Culling geese by breaking their necks may not meet the standard for humane euthanasia,” said Sara Dubois, BC SPCA Chief Scientific Officer. “Breaking necks, or cervical dislocation, for a large, conscious, bird is just not appropriate in this case.”

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, if an animal suffers unnecessary pain and suffering during a cull then that could be an offence under the act.

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Dubois said shooting a goose, when done by a trained professional with the proper gauge weapon, can be an appropriate way to kill them.

Farmers on Vancouver Island have been calling for the cull, saying the geese are just out of control.

“For farmers I know it cannot come soon enough,” said Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor, on May 8. “We have to take the action that’s necessary to correct the actions we took some 40 to 50 years ago.”

The non-migratory species of the birds were first introduced in the 1960s as part of an effort to create hunting opportunities. With no predators and plenty of available food, their numbers have multiplied.

“The farmers are aware that this is a non-native population and that something has to be done about taking corrective action,” added Windsor.

Chairwoman of the Capital Regional District, Susan Brice, said the airport authority is also worried about the birds interfering with flight paths.

“We understand the frustrations of culling geese may be necessary in the case of public safety when there’s an airport nearby and there’s an extreme overpopulation damaging crops,” said Dubois, “but this could be prevented by using programs like egg addling, egg oiling and if lethal measures are really necessary, then there should be other humane methods explored.”

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– With files from The Canadian Press

WATCH: Proposed goose cull in Saanich (story from May 8):


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