Vernon council approves goose cull, but silence on kill method | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon council approves goose cull, but silence on kill method

A goose on Kin Beach.
February 08, 2021 - 5:11 PM

As Vernon council moves forward with its plan to cull hundreds of geese, the question of how the birds will ultimately meet their demise is absent from the conversation.

While the issue has created much debate between councillors and took two attempts before a vote in favour of the cull was passed, the method of how the birds will be slaughtered hasn't come up.

Vernon council voted for a second time in favour of spending $40,000 to cull 250 geese today, Feb. 8, but the conversation focused largely on costs, regulations, and what could be done with the meat. Not a single councillor asked a question about how the birds will get killed. And no one appears to want to answer the question anyway.

The kill method also isn't reported in an otherwise very detailed report from City staff regarding the cull.

The report gives a full breakdown of costs and goes into detail about how the cull takes place. A team of strategically placed kayakers on the lake corral the geese onto land and into a trailer. It says nothing about methods of killing.

The report says the geese will be "dispatched" using a protocol that was approved in a management plan but doesn't list what the options are when killing a goose in a cull.

The City also wasn't forthcoming when asked directly how the geese will die.

"The method used for the cull would be up to the contractor and would be decided in consultation with the Province," a spokesperson for the City said in an email.

According to the province, it has a best practice procedure on how to euthanize geese humanely.

“That involves using a captive bolt gun specifically designed for stunning and killing birds,” a Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development spokesperson said in an email.

The Ministry spokesperson said this method has been used successfully in several B.C. projects to date.

According to the City staff report, the cull should take place in June when the geese molt and lose their flight feathers.

“Therefore, the round-up will capture both the adult geese and their young. Most of the geese will be resident geese, however the round-up may include a limited number of migratory geese,” the report says.

While the number of geese scheduled to be culled is not yet known, the report estimates it could be around 250.

The geese will be rounded up from Paddlewheel, Lakeshore and Kin Beach, but geese at Polson Park will not be rounded up as they are expected to fly to the lake during this season.

Much discussion at council meetings has revolved about what can be done with the meat and council has previously been told the Okanagan Indian Band were offered the dead birds for use in ceremonies but refused the offer.

Councillor Scott Anderson told council he’d had a request from an organization to use the meat as bait for hunting. City staff said they would get back to him on whether this would be possible.

Although it seems unlikely as the report says due to federal regulations the meat can not be distributed and the carcasses will go to the landfill.

The province said it has yet to receive an application in regards to the Vernon goose cull, but at least one contractor seems keen.

The province said a consulting firm had been in contact with the province in regards to the timelines for receiving a permit.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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