By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) — The University of Denver is hosting a presentation Wednesday night focused on alternatives to culling Canada geese. Organizers say the event is being held in response to last year’s round-up and slaughter of geese in Denver parks.

Over the summer, more than 1,600 geese were killed and processed to be given away as food.

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“The park had a sense of death. The part had a sense of trauma. It had this weird, eerie, empty feeling and that was before we found out what happened,” said Courtney DeWinter of Canada Geese Protection Colorado.

Scott Gilmore, Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation, estimates about 5,000 geese have made Denver their permanent home. He says a single bird produces about a pound of waste per day and it’s becoming unmanageable and unsanitary.

Gilmore told CBS4’s Tori Mason culling geese was one of the most difficult decisions he’s had to make. He would not confirm Wednesday whether geese would be culled in 2020, but last month the city said it’ll likely continue killing geese as part of a three-year plan to manage the population.

Critics say killing the geese is inhumane and unnecessary.

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“Given that more lethal action against geese in Colorado parks is pending in 2020, it’s imperative that we provide information on non-lethal solutions & strategies for goose & wildlife management,” supporter Philip Tedeschi stated.

Canada Geese Protection Colorado says they can spend the taxpayer money spent killing geese toward something more humane and effective.

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CGP is also not in favor of goose meat being used to feed low income Denver residents.

“Feeding the needy is a false narrative. That’s designed to make people feel good about killing these birds,” said DeWinter.

She says biocides used in Denver Parks tainted the meat with harmful chemicals. She’d rather the city use non-lethal solutions to managing the population.

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CPG says turf clean-up along with getting a more accurate count of geese will help with management. Canada Geese Protection says the city’s Hazing method doesn’t ultimately reduce those numbers, but more egg oiling would.

Denver has increased egg oiling over the years, but DeWinter says it’s not nearly enough. She says the city could save on labor by turning oiling into educational opportunities for college students and boy scouts.

“Would you rather oil eggs before they hatch or would you rather terrify a bunch of animals and herd them off to slaughter?” asked DeWinter.

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Tori Mason