December 15, 2008

Pheasants from Farm to Food Banks

The colorful pheasants of Game Farm Road will be no more - Governor Paterson announced the closing of the Reynolds Game Farm to "save up to $750,000 in annual operation costs".

Pheasants pondering at Reynolds Game Farm
Pheasants pondering at Reynolds Game Farm

And the 8,000 pheasants?

DEC considered several options in preparation of the farm's closure. However, it found neither relocation nor release to the wild viable. A small number of pheasants may be taken by private game breeders or farms. However, stocking facilities were either unwilling or ill-equipped to accept the entire pheasant flock. The pheasants have had their wing feathers clipped and are unable to fly, an unsuitable condition for release into the wild. Cornell University will perform avian influenza disease testing and certification free of charge. Once the pheasants are processed and packaged, they will then be donated to a food bank in the Southern Tier.

I'm not really sure how you cook pheasant, though I doubt it's that hard. (And weren't we releasing birds with clipped wings into the wild before? That doesn't quite make sense either.)

Now we can watch for the real question, over the land. I'm guessing Cornell will get it eventually, but who knows.

Update: Here's the Journal article and the New York Times article.

Posted by simon at December 15, 2008 3:49 PM in
Note on photos


KAZ said:

The clipped-wing ones were breeding pairs. The ones regularly released in the wild or for hunters weren't clipped.

We plan to rescue at least some of them, so you may visit them at our house.

It's fairly sad; P tells me that the guy who tends the pheasants grew up there, and his father tended the pheasants before him.

I remember when pheasants roamed wild through our old house out in Lansing. But nowadays, it's rare to see one, and when you do, it's usually one we've released.

Paul Lutwak said:

It's obvious that the closing has alternative motives.

1. Why would the governor target a specific program in another department? Why not just tell the DEC to make budget cuts?
2. Why would the majority of the quotes in the papers be from The Humane society and PETA?
3. Why would they insist that they would be saving $750,000, when the workers have already been told that they will not lose their jobs and about a third of that $750,000 is personnel?
4. Why don’t they mention the 60,000 day old birds that are distributed? Or the 15,000 10 week old chicks?
5. What about the 4-H clubs that have lots of money tied up in equipment to raise these chicks? (not to mention the educational value)

I think I know the reason:

Take a look at the property. It’s prime. Lots of road frontage and close to campus.

Cornell donated this property to the DEC back in the 30’s and now they want it back.

It has nothing to do with closing the hole in the budget.

My guess is that Cornell won’t fight some of the cuts that the governor is going to make in return for this property that is probably worth 10’s of millions of dollars.
Someone at Cornell has Paterson’s ear.

It has to do with Political favors.

By the way, is PETA going to pay for the processing costs?
My guess is that processing 6000 pheasants will cost about $2-$3/bird

Holley Padula said:

I think it would be wise if this was opened up to the public. Perhaps some local farmrs would like to take these birds in. Rather than "processing" them, offer them up.