Virginians organized a peaceful protest against the euthanization of 105 geese in Virginia Beach.
Canadian Geese are migratory waterfowl, meaning that it is incredibly difficult to legally kill them outside of hunting season. However, the federal government understands that they can be nuisances. So, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a list of steps that need to be taken before bothersome geese can be removed from an area. One of these steps is to add "No Feeding" signs to the area to stop people from encouraging the animals to stay with free food.
Apparently, more than 30 property owners in Virginia Beach followed these steps and, when they were unsuccessful, convinced the USDA to remove dozens of geese from the waterfront. In their words, the goose poop became just too much to bear. All in all, 105 birds were removed in the "sting."
The captured animals were ultimately euthanized because it would be impossible to stop the animals from flying back to the waterfront property where they were removed.
Overcome by sadness over the deaths of these birds, approximately 75 people gathered on Saturday to mourn their passing. They gathered in a local park and planted homemade popsicle grave markers in the geese's honor. Children even gave imaginary names to the deceased geese, such as "Glitter Goose" and "Gustavo Goose."
The group of mourners walked in solidarity with their winged friends around a small pond. Demonstrators even carried signs supporting the geese. Area resident Margaret Thompson carried a sign that read, "Choose coexistence over human entitlement."
Rose Chandler, one of the march's organizers, criticized her neighbors for being too quick to demand the birds be euthanized.
“They did not exhaust and put all steps in play, and they never even reached out the people who deal with them the most -- the rehabers,” Chandler explained. “We just want them to know that even though they were just geese that we care about the geese, and since they have no voice we will be their voice today and we want them to know that there are steps that they can take.”
The organizers said that the turnout was "heartwarming" and that they were excited to see so many members of the community come out in support of the birds.