Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has declared war on the majestic mute swan. Calling these beautiful, free-ranging and naturalized birds invasive and alien, Michigan plans to kill as many as 1500 a year for the next five years with the goal of slaughtering tens of thousands over the next 18 years.
With virtually no scientific data or support, the DNR claims the mute swan population is out of control and estimates there are approximately 15,500 in Michigan – a number that is highly disputed by experts. Considering there are 35,000 inland lakes and ponds in Michigan, even if their estimates are correct, that’s a lot less than even a single pair of Mute swans per lake.
Since most people cringe at the idea of killing such a beautiful animal, the DNR has waged a relentless dirty campaign to convince us that mute swans are nasty creatures that must be destroyed. Using words like “non-native,” “feral,” “invasive,” and “aggressive,” the DNR hopes to diminish our love and respect for the mute swan all the while claiming they are only protecting “native” waterfowl.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recently presented a management proposal calling for a voluntary moratorium on the killing of mute swans so that mute swan committees could be established to examine any potential problems. This would allow for a proper assessment of the impact, if any, that mute swans are having, while encouraging local citizens to be involved in finding compassionate and humane solutions to any perceived conflicts. (www.savemuteswans.org)
The DNR completely dismisses this idea for humane and compassionate solutions and instead is suggesting the outlandish idea that local community committees should vote to just shoot or otherwise kill mute swans. Incredibly, DNR is even offering permits for individuals to kill mute swans at their own discretion, rather than working with the affected community to mitigate problems and implement humane solutions.
It is up to us to speak out for Michigan’s mute swans and demand humane enlightened treatment for these magnificent birds.
How you can help:
Ask Governor Rick Snyder to intervene immediately to stop this senseless killing: firstname.lastname@example.org; or 517-373-3400
Sign the Michigan Mute Swan Petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-killing-of-mute-swans-in-michigan