Champaign-Urbana Urged to Take Selfies to Protest Gas Chamber Goose Massacre

Urbana, Ill. (November 17, 2020) — On Saturday, November 14, In Defense of Animals and Friends of Geese organized a flashmob of animal activists and concerned citizens who gathered around the launch of an eye-catching billboard and collectively demanded an end to the killing of geese in the area. The event has already been reported by The News Gazette and WCIA.

The activists aim to raise awareness about resident Canada geese and goslings, and to protect them from being cruelly rounded up and killed like they were at Crystal Lake Park by order of the Urbana Park District this past June. 

Renowned and much-loved physician Dr. Patch Adams led the dramatic flashmob to protest the ongoing persecution of geese in Urbana and Champaign, while celebrating the twin cities’ newly-formed advocacy group Friends of Geese. The billboard now stands at Wright Street and University Avenue in Champaign to bring attention to this issue.

“Slaughtering defenseless geese in local parks is utterly detestable,” said Lisa Levinson, campaigner for In Defense of Animals.“We urge everyone who cares about animals and local parks to take a selfie with the billboard and tag Urbana Park District. The District must commit to coexist peacefully with animals in Crystal Lake Park and all parks it manages.”

On June 22, the Urbana Park District arranged the massacre of 175 geese and goslings who lived at Crystal Lake Park, despite overwhelming opposition by Friends of Geese and over 9,000 In Defense of Animals supporters

Dozens of unsuspecting geese were rounded up during molting season, while they were flightless and defenseless. Terrified geese were herded, separated from their families, and gassed in mobile gas chambers while the remaining geese were vulnerable, terrified, and traumatized. Canada geese mate for life, but one gander was left without his mate to father their goslings and several others who were orphaned.

These geese were killed despite public opposition and the Urbana Park District’s own reports showing five years of steady improvement and a marked population decrease of 12% in the last two years using nonlethal strategies like habitat modification, nesting management, and humane hazing. Unfortunately, no efforts were made to establish a “tolerance zone” for geese away from human activities as a long-term solution.

Goose poop complaints can easily be remedied by hiring companies to clean the waste, which is an effective fertilizer and not a health hazard as claimed. 

The District’s rash decisions were pushed through to begin the park’s $2.5 million renovation plan. Local activists weren’t notified about the goose roundup in time to voice their concerns, so they staged colorful and well-supported demonstrations bi-weekly before the geese were brutally killed.

In Defense of Animals launched its National Goose Protection Coalition in 2019 to help concerned citizens stop roundups in their communities. Members of the public can urge the Urbana Parks Districtto implement effective, non-lethal, and humane goose management strategies at:

Friends of Geese provides a model program for the humane and effective management of urban Canada geese with the goal of educating and training the public on non-lethal geese population control protocol as promoted by the Humane Society of the United States and GeesePeace.         

Take action to stop future Urbana goose roundups: 

Images – available for use with credit per filename:


In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 37-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, campaigns, and hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

Friends of Geese is a grassroots organization of people who fight for the protection of the Canada geese and their habitat at Crystal Lake Park and beyond. They work toward public engagement through education, direct outreach, network building, political demonstrations, and protests.