Bird Lovers Protest as Dozens of Wild Turkeys Roaming Staten Island Set to Be Slaughtered

Dozens of turkeys have been roaming a part of Staten Island

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    Federal agriculture officials are moving several dozen wild turkeys from a psychiatric center on Staten Island to a slaughterhouse upstate, a response to disturbance complaints and health concerns over the birds but is nevertheless drawing criticism from animal lovers. (Published Thursday, Aug 15, 2013)

    Federal agriculture officials are moving several dozen wild turkeys from a Staten Island neighborhood to a slaughterhouse upstate, a response to disturbance complaints and health concerns over the birds that is nevertheless drawing criticism from animal lovers.

    About 80 wild turkeys have been roaming the South Beach Psychiatric Center campus, and the state-run facility has complained that the birds have "left excessive feces on handrails and sidewalks" and at times blocked ambulances from pulling up to the Staten Island University Hospital next door.  

    The flock has grown over the years, as natural predators are virtually non-existent and fans like to bring them food, despite a no-feeding policy. 

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture was given authorization from the state's Department of Environmental Conservation to remove up to 100 birds from the campus, according to spokeswoman Carol Bannerman. 

    "Our job is to address places where damage is occurring," she said.

    Fans of the turkeys are protesting, asking that officials move the turkeys to a sanctuary instead of a slaughterhouse.

    "They shouldn't kill them," said Megan Delmar, who runs a non-profit riding academy for disabled children next door, where the turkeys occasionally roam.

    Joe McAllister, who runs the South Beach Civic Association, said it would be more humane to take the turkeys to a wildlife sanctuary.
    But the USDA said the fate of the birds is up to the state's DEC, which regulates wildlife, and the department has determined the mixed-species nature of the birds make them unsuitable for relocation to a sanctuary.
    The USDA said meat from the slaughtered turkeys will be frozen until it's determined whether or not it's suitable for human consumption.

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