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May 1, 2012

War on Mute Swans Unwarranted

Distinctive birds targeted for simply doing what birds do

  • Heather Fone/The HSUS

Easily recognizable with their long necks and reddish-orange bills, mute swans are found up and down the Eastern seaboard and in areas as far west as Montana and Utah.

People still can’t agree 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 the environment. However, all over the country, mute swans have been the victims of unnecessary killing just for doing what swans do—eating plants to survive.

Sign the petition to save Michigan's mute swans »

In the past, swans have come under attack in Maryland, where they have been accused of eating too much vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay, and in Delaware, where the state’s population of just 40 mute swans has been deemed an invasive nuisance. In reality, swans are merely convenient scapegoats for human-caused environmental problems.

Battle moves to Michigan

Now, Michigan's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced they want to kill as many as 1,500 mute swans each year over the next five years.

Calling them invasive and alien, Michigan’s goal is part of a far-reaching plan to reduce the state’s swan population from 15,000 to 2,000 by the year 2032. Incredibly, the DNR is asking private citizens to get permits and actually help slaughter 13,000 swans.

Speak up for the mute

No matter where you live, you can speak up for mute swans by signing our petition to stop the killing in Michigan. If you live in Michigan, consider attending local meetings or writing a letter to the editor of your newspaper. Encourage your friends and neighbors to sign the petition as well. Learn more at savemuteswans.org.

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