Noting that the third time was the charm, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) announced tonight that his legislation (A.9289) saving the state’s mute swans from a government-sanctioned death sentence – vetoed twice previously despite igniting the collective passions of thousands of animal-loving New Yorkers and wildlife advocacy groups — has been signed into law by Governor Cuomo.
“The people have spoken and I’m pleased that the Governor has listened,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.
Tens of thousands of New Yorkers signed petitions, sent letters and emails to the Governor’s office, and, in my community, called my office to tell me how much they enjoy watching the swans in Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach. People were very vocal about their support of this bill, and I have to believe it made all the difference,” he said.
The new law will establish a two-year moratorium on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s controversial plan to exterminate New York’s mute swans by 2025 and declare the birds a “prohibited species.” The law also requires DEC to demonstrate that the swans have caused actual damage to the environment or to other species, including humans.
In its most recent swan management plan released in March 2015, DEC unearthed a lone 1970 swan-on-human attack as evidence of the birds’ aggressive tendencies. In the 1960s, world scientists declared the mute swan the international symbol of world peace.
The signing of this legislation serves as a major victory for the animal rights and environmental protection groups that joined Assemblyman Cymbrowitz in fighting DEC’s plan, including the League of Humane Voters, GooseWatch NYC, the Regal Swan Foundation and Save Our Swans.
Sen. Tony Avella was the bill’s Senate sponsor.