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Only Good Canada Goose Is A Cooked Canada Goose

Federated Farmers of New Zealand President Charlie Pedersen
speaking at Action Goose Lake Henley, Wairarapa 18 January 2008, 12.16pm


The Only Good Canada Goose Is A Cooked Canada Goose

Good afternoon everyone,

I would like to thank Wairarapa Federated Farmers for standing up to Fish and Game and speaking out on the Canada goose problem.

I would also like to thank our members and the media for coming here today.

Canada geese are a serious problem for farmers in many places in New Zealand.

Despite the Canada goose being introduced as a game bird, the population has swollen well beyond the ability of recreational hunters to control.

Canada geese are polluters of our pastures and waterways. Two adult Canada geese eat the equivalent of one sheep per day.

Run holders in the Fairly region of South Canterbury estimate that Canada geese cost their operations up to $12,000 per annum through lost pasture and control efforts.

A farmer located out of Huntly farms next to a waterway prolific with Canada geese. This spring 35 cows from his herd died from avian salmonella, the cows grazed the same pasture as the mobs of defecating Canada geese. This incident cost the farmer an estimated $75,000 in stock loss, stock replacement, veterinary bills and lost production.

Bird strikes on power lines in the fog regularly occur for a Waikato farmer who sometimes has to face up to 600 birds on his property in the night. He regularly spends the hours between 6pm and midnight attempting to control the birds through shooting, before rising at 4am to milk his herd.

Locally there is a farmer on Lake Wairarapa who has 30-40 hectares that he can't use due to it being regularly grazed by geese. At 20 cents/kg dry matter with an expected production of 15 tonne dry matter, which may be conservative for dairy ground, this is costing him $3,000/ha. So he is providing over $90,000 a year in goose habitat. And this is just one Wairarapa farmer’s involuntary contribution to recreational hunting.
Federated Farmers’members are convinced that in some areas of New Zealand the Canada goose population is out of control.

Estimates of Canada goose numbers across New Zealand range from 50,000 to 100,000 birds. Numbers are now so far above what can be managed or sensibly harvested by game bird hunters that we must now use more efficient culling methods.

The direct cost of continuing to feed geese day after day is borne solely by individual farming families at the expense of their farming businesses. This cost is not recoverable. Farmers shouldn’t have to pay for the recreational pastime of others.

Federated Farmers of New Zealand has repeatedly raised concerns about exploding Canada goose populations. We are now looking towards the Minister of Conservation to address this issue. The Department of Conservation is currently reviewing the level of protection for some New Zealand wildlife, including the status of Canada goose.

Federated Farmers has submitted that Canada geese should be placed under the Wildlife Act's fifth schedule – giving it no protection and the possibility of being tagged a pest and therefore allowing more effective culling techniques.

Losing its protection would allow landowners, councils and others in the community to act more aggressively to bring this pest down to manageable levels.

Federated Farmers wants action on this problem. For to long Canada geese have been afforded protection to satisfy a dwindling number of recreational shooters. I’ve had a problem on my farm and I know how disgusting these birds are.

Federated Farmers is absolutely convinced that the only good Canada goose, is a cooked goose.

ENDS

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