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June 30, 2009

Thousands Petition Gov. O'Malley to End Killing of Mute Swans in Md.

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States delivered thousands of petition signatures and comments to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley asking for an immediate moratorium on the barbaric slaughter of mute swans. The petition signers include residents from all over Maryland.

The HSUS has been actively involved in working to end the killing of mute swans. These birds have been made the scapegoat for the environmental problems of the Chesapeake Bay. There are fewer than 500 mute swans left in Maryland, reduced from 4,000 swans just six years ago.

"With Maryland allowing 500 million pounds of pollutants into the bay each year, it is tragic nonsense for this same government to destroy these beautiful swans in the name of protecting the bay," said John W. Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president for wildlife and habitat protection for The HSUS. 

Talk show host and philanthropist Montel Williams, a Maryland native, sent a letter to Gov. O'Malley in April asking that the bay's mute swans be allowed to live out their lives in peace. Recording artist Slash also sent a letter expressing concern over the killings.

The HSUS has participated in the Mute Swan Advisory Committee meetings held over the last five months, discussing the problems of the Chesapeake Bay and asserting that a few hundred mute swans are not responsible for all the damage caused by pollution and runoff into the bay.

In addition to being a short-sighted, ineffective solution to larger environmental problems, the killing of mute swans may be particularly inhumane. Maryland Department of Natural Resources personnel reportedly shoot swans on or near their nests, often in front of their lifelong mates; or herd and capture them, then crush the necks of un-anesthetized swans with a bolt cutter-like device. The use of this device violates guidelines set by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The HSUS has requested a meeting with Gov. O'Malley to convey the concerns of his constituents and to discuss more humane management plans for mute swans.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org. 

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