The State of New York might launch a huge offensive against a nasty invasive species that tears up underwater vegetation, threatens passenger jets, and (occasionally) attacks people with the raw, avian vindictiveness of an avenging archangel. Unfortunately for the State of New York and its beleaguered PR interns, that invasive species isn't a hideous monster that the public naturally despises — it's the oversized, snow-white mute swan, a symbol of love, obnoxious Europeanness, and pebble-sized turds.
According to the New York Times, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has determined that the mute swan, a waterfowl imported from Europe in the late 19th century, must be stopped from shitting all over everything and attacking the occasional kayaker. There's a strong case to be made against the birds: mute swans tear out underwater vegetation, which disrupts the freshwater food chain, inconveniences adorable ducks, and clouds the water. The swans can also be pretty aggressive, which makes sense since every adult swan looks like its wearing a battle visor over its eyes and is ever on the look out for an opportunity to fuck shit up.
The department has proposed an aggressive campaign to reduce the swan population, which begins first with labeling the animals a "prohibitive invasive species" and culminates in eliminating almost all of the 2,200 swans in New York by 2025. Though a final plan is expected later this year, the general idea will be to either shoot or capture and gas adult swans and oil swan eggs on nests so they can't hatch.
The Great Swan Purge isn't a unanimous hit with the good, simple, yogurt eating folks of New York. Though bird watchers and conservationists seem to generally favor eliminating the mute swan for the sake of native New York species, animal rights activists are predictably horrified at the prospect of murder, murder, murdering all the swans. Some people (random people that the Times just happened upon feeding swans pizza crusts) have, moreover, drawn comparisons between the swan purge and xenophobic sentiment against American immigrants. Take it from these random bird enthusiasts:
Bird Enthusiast 1: If they [the swans] were born here, they should be considered native by now.
Bird Enthusiast 2: I'm not an environmentalist, but that [the swan extermination plan] seems kind of messed up. Is that how we treat immigrants?
Actually, Bird Enthusiast 2, that is sort of how we treat immigrants, and you can bet that right now, the Duck Federation of New York is having a town hall meeting that looks (more or less) like this:
Image via Getty