Senator Lanza Statement on Stay of Execution for Staten Island Turkeys

Andrew J. Lanza

August 14, 2013

Many of you may be aware of the ongoing issue regarding the wild turkeys inhabiting parts of Staten Island. Over the last two days I have been trying to achieve a stay of execution because I believe a wholesale slaughter is the wrong result. I recognize that these turkeys have become a nuisance to some, however, I do not approve of the decision made by the DEC, the South Beach Psychiatric Center and United States Department of Agriculture to capture the turkeys and send them to slaughter. I have advocated for a good management program for this population for many years now. I believe that relocation would not only be a more humane approach, but one that would not incur the cost that slaughter incurs for the residents of Staten Island. Over the last several years I have attempted to connect the DEC with numerous individuals who have volunteered to relocate the turkeys at their own cost as to avoid their slaughter. However, the DEC has told me in the past that relocation is not an option because they are a “protected species” in New York State. This seems to fly in the face of the current action. So far the USDA has been completely uncooperative with my office. I will continue to try to persuade the DEC to avoid slaughter and opt for the less expensive relocation of the birds.  Given the long history of trying to work with the DEC on this issue, I was disappointed that my office was not given notice of the intention to collect and dispose of the birds. 

Below is a link to an article on the issue from the Staten Island Advance: