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Feb 18, 2014 3:39 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Fred Thiele Co-Sponsors Moratorium For DEC's Mute Swan Plan

Feb 18, 2014 4:12 PM

State Assemblyman Fred Thiele has co-sponsored legislation that would place a two-year moratorium on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s plan to eliminate free-ranging mute swans by 2025.

The legislation also would require the DEC to prove that mute swans cause “actual damage to the environment or other species,” according to a press release issued on Saturday.

“I have people contacting my office all the time,” said Mr. Thiele, “But I don’t think I’ve had one call about the deadly mute swans.”

Mr. Thiele is joined by State Senators Tony Avella and Steve Cymbrowitz in his efforts to put a legal halt to the mute swan culling. The legislation, he explained, puts the burden of proof on the DEC while maintaining the status quo until then.

Mr. Avella said he initiated the legislation after hearing about the issue from the nonprofit animal rights group, Friends of Animals. “I was very surprised to hear the DEC was pushing to kill all these swans,” said Mr. Avella. “They’re usually very apt to protect wildlife.”

The DEC issued a draft management plan for the mute swans in December, deeming them non-native and an “invasive” species that threatens the area’s natural vegetation and species. The draft is still in the comment period, allowing the public to submit their thoughts and suggestions, until February 21.

“One of the big calls I made,” said Mr. Thiele, “was to East Hampton Village, to ask if they’d had any problems with the mute swans. People look at the swans in the pond over there almost like … looking at a Norman Rockwell painting. It wasn’t an issue for them, so I sponsored the legislation.”

Mr. Thiele said he hopes the bill will come to the floor for a vote sometime between April 1 and the end of June.

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The NY Times has an interesting Op-Ed piece on the mute swans and DEC, which closes with the observation:

"There’s a larger issue here. The real environmental problems faced by New York State are created not by birds, but by people. In the nearly 150 years that the mute swan has been among us, it has witnessed a radical decline in the extent of the state’s wildlife habitat and in the quality of its water and soil. The loss of wetlands has slowed and even reversed since the low ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Feb 18, 14 5:30 PM
Interesting take - but two wrong's don't make a right. So because man has polluted the waters and desecrated our open spaces, we shouldn't try eliminate an invasive species that has been scientifically proven to have negative impacts on native flora and fauna?

And, pre-tell, how is one supposed to figure out the chemical toxicities concentrated in the birds liver without, ya know, killing it?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 18, 14 5:38 PM
“I was very surprised to hear the DEC was pushing to kill all these swans,” said Mr. Avella.

That makes two of us Mr. Avella, since the DEC isn't actually "pushing" to kill them, but rather completed a study which is now open to the public for comment which includes (among other options) culling of live swans. Maybe Mr. Avella didn't actually read the document, but just heard about it from a friend
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 18, 14 5:40 PM