“Assemblyman Cymbrowitz’ Mute Swan Bill Delivered to Governor Cuomo

A bill introduced by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) to save New York’s mute swans from extermination has been delivered to Governor Cuomo, and the lawmaker is urging animal rights advocates to make their voices heard and convince the state’s chief executive to sign the bill into law.

The Governor has until November 21st to act on the bill.

The legislation (A.3675) would establish a two-year moratorium on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s controversial plan to eradicate all wild mute swans in the state by 2025 and declare them a “prohibited species.” The also requires the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to demonstrate that actual damage to the environment or other species has been caused by the mute swan population across the state.

The legislation passed both houses of the Legislature with an overwhelming majority. Sen. Tony Avella was the Senate sponsor.

“People in my community feel very strongly about the mute swans that live in Sheepshead Bay and the thought of the state coming in and shooting or gassing these birds is not acceptable to anyone,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, a member of the Environmental Conservation Committee, has urged DEC to explore non-lethal alternatives to managing the swan population.

The signing of this legislation into law would serve as a major victory for animal rights and environmental protection groups that have joined Assemblyman Cymbrowitz in fighting DEC’s plan, including GooseWatch NYC, the Regal Swan Foundation and Save Our Swans.

“Now’s the time to speak up and tell the Governor to sign this legislation,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. Anyone wishing to contact Governor Cuomo may write to him at the NYS State Capitol Building, Albany, NY 12224. The Governor’s office may be reached by email at Andrew.Cuomo@exec.ny.gov or by phone at (518) 474-8390.”


***UPDATE***APRIL 2015

  • Late in 2014, Governor Cuomo vetoed a bill introduced by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D- Brooklyn) and Senator Tony Avella that would have established a moratorium on the killing of New York State’s  2,200 mute swans by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). In issuing the veto, Governor Cuomo committed the DEC to preparing a newly revised Mute Swan Management plan that would address the public’s concerns for management of these beautiful animals.
  • Unfortunately, the DEC has now issued a “revised” plan that only makes minor, cosmetic changes to its original mute swan extirpation plan.  Over time, the revised plan would be as destructive of free-living mute swans as the old version.
  • Here are the chilling specifics, obscured in the details:
  • Free-living mute swans would be eliminated from upstate New York.
  • With no evidence, mute swans are “assumed” to be detrimental and destructive and invasive.  This assumption would allow them to be killed and controlled at will by DEC, with no accountability.
  • Even in those places such as New York City and Long Island, where DEC would allow some mute swans to remain, they would have to be penned, wing-clipped (to prevent flight), sterilized or have their reproduction permanently controlled.
  • The plan seeks immediate elimination of two-thirds or more of New York’s mute swans and to eliminate the remaining free-living mute swans by penning them or through sterilization or forced reproductive controls.
  • There is no requirement that DEC demonstrate that mute swans are harmful before they kill or destructively control them.
  • Mute swans are not an invasive species: this term should be reserved for species causing drastic, harmful and deleterious effects. But mute swans are not environmentally harmful, rather, they are beautiful, majestic parts of the  New York environment.

Even Slash, famous guitarist from Guns N’ Roses, and Nigel Barker, world-renowned photographer, have spoken out against this unnecessary slaughter.

All over the United States, mute swans have been the victims of unnecessary killing just for doing what is natural to them – living, and eating vegetation to survive.

In short, the DEC’s revised plan is destructive and draconian. Please help us stop the revised plan by signing this Change.org petition:

The beautiful mute swan, known for its graceful white body and distinctive orange/red bill, is found up and down the eastern sea board and in areas as far west as Montana and Utah. However, it is still disputed whether mute swans are native to the United States or if they were introduced in the 1800s.  Either way, free-ranging swans are now a naturalized, not to mention beautiful, part of our environment. There is no evidence that swans are responsible for meaningful environmental alteration. In fact, it is more likely that they are being used as a scapegoat for our political failure to deal with environmental problems such as water pollution and toxic runoff. We must learn to live with our naturalized wildlife –native and non-native alike–and stop trying to recreate a world that can no longer exist. Brutal and unnecessary killing of mute swans is not a substitute for the humane and enlightened management that these magnificent animals deserve.

Urgent Action Required

Legislation introduced by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and Senator Tony Avella to protect New York’s mute swans from extermination has been delivered to Governor Cuomo. The bill passed both houses of the Legislature with an overwhelming majority. If the bill is not signed within 10 days, it will be automatically vetoed. Governor Cuomo has until November 21st to act on the bill, so he needs to hear from us now!

Take Action: Call Governor Cuomo at (518) 474-8390 or contact him online at http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact and urge him to protect New York’s mute swans…

Urgent Action Needed