For the third year in a row, the City of Ocala is debating ducks.
In May 2009, plans to trap and kill Muscovy ducks who were considered a nuisance were cancelled after the city heard from outraged residents. Instead, over 300 ducks were rounded up and moved to a large farm outside the city. A year later, the city contracted with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to kill 20 ducks who were blamed for fouling sidewalks and picnic tables in city parks, but public outcry halted the lethal control program.
Last week, a plan to kill Muscovy ducks again raised its ugly head in Ocala. Despite offers from two local wildlife sanctuary’s to accept ducks, the City Council voted 3-2 to hire the USDA to kill as many as 100 ducks in the city.
On Sunday, about 25 people gathered in a city park to protest the plan. Protesters argued that killing ducks is not a long-term solution. Susan Moon, who attended the protest, told the Ocala Star-Banner that egg-collection is a better way to control duck numbers. “That’s a simple way of controlling the population. You don’t let the population get out of control and then say, ‘Oops, we have to kill them all,’” she said. Another concerned resident, Stephanie Bumpus, defended the birds, “Muscovies are misunderstood. They are clean and intelligent and help clear up the mosquito population.”
Will public outcry against killing the ducks once again persuade the city to consider non-lethal alternatives?
Please contact the City Council and politely urge them to explore non-lethal ways of controlling the duck population and to prevent the ducks from becoming a nuisance. Contact:
Councilman Kent Guinn and Councilwoman Mary Sue Rich voted against the plan to kill ducks. Please send them a note of thanks!
Write a letter to the editor of the Ocala Star-Banner expressing outrage at the killing plans, and encouraging city officials to take more compassionate action. Send letters to: email@example.com or use this online form.