On June 18, it was reported that parent mute swans were shot in Oneida Lake by Wildlife Services, it was also reported that the babies (cygnets) were drowned with nets. You can see the initial report here:

FOIL requests were sent out and Wildlife Services responded. Here is their shockingly callous letter that could be termed “depraved indifference.” –

When possible, Wildlife Services recommends nonlethal methods for wildlife damage management conflict resolution. Our program believes it’s important for people and wildlife to coexist and seek nonlethal ways for that to occur—the Wildlife Services program received a Presidential Award for Migratory Bird Stewardship based on our raptor research and relocation. However, there are times, such as in the case of human safety, where euthanasia may be necessary. Wildlife Services biologists understand that euthanasia can be a difficult process for people, and we take that into consideration when this process is necessary by removing the animals to a different location prior to humanely euthanizing them.

Regarding the Mute Swans at Oneida Lake, the adults were able to fly and therefore catching them may not have been possible and is a difficult and time consuming process. That process would have been more stressful for the birds and the community and also risked injury to the birds as well as injury to our employees. Therefore we determined that removing the adults using firearms, an AVMA-approved method of euthanasia, was decided. The cygnets were netted, alive, and removed outside of the public eye, where they were humanely euthanized by cervical dislocation, another AVMA-approved method of euthanasia. I want to clarify that neither a pair of bolt cutters nor a bovine emasculator was used in the humane euthanasia of the adults or the cygnets.

Tanya Espinosa, Public Affairs Specialist, Legislative and Public Affairs, USDA-APHIS, Phone: (301) 851-4092
HOW COULD IT HAPPEN IN SPITE OF THE MORATORIUM? All the DEC needed was the excuse that the swans were a danger to people, and they could notify Wildlife Services. If wildlife could get justice in a courtroom, the woman who reported the “attack” should be investigated for the verity of her story, affiliations she may have, and provocation of the swans.

NYS Assembly Member, Steven Cymbrowitz, the Assembly sponsor of the moratorium on the killing of mute swans, sent a letter to the DEC Commissioner demanding to know who gave permission to kill the swans.
We contacted A/M Cymbrowitz’s office to find out if they had received a response, but they hadn’t by the time we went to print.

Sheila Bolin posted this photo of kayakers in England who were trying to help the swans.
Sheila said: Maybe, it is time to train or at least get some competent qualified wildlife officials instead of a bunch of boat ropers who want to act like they know how to conserve wildlife. Oh, again, that’s right, easier to kill something than to take the time to learn how to manage without killing.

For more information, please contact Sheila Bolin of the Regal Swan Foundation or email::
If you are in NYC, please join with Mary Beth Artz and other volunteers at W.I.L.D. Find W.I.L.D. on Facebook or email:

Mute swan cygnets
See Sue Miller’s swan photography and art at

Sue Miller is an activist and artist on behalf of swans.


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561