Cull of Staten Island Turkeys On Hold as Contract Expires

By Nicholas Rizzi on January 30, 2014 8:41am 

 The state's Office of Mental Health has not renewed a contract that provided for the capture and slaughter of turkeys on Staten Island.
The state's Office of Mental Health has not renewed a contract that provided for the capture and slaughter of turkeys on Staten Island.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

OCEAN BREEZE — The Staten Island turkeys may be able to roost easy.

A contract authorizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to cull a flock of birds on the South Beach Psychiatric Center's grounds expired last month.

A spokesman for the state's Office of Mental Health, which sought the service, said it is not being renewed, though he did not say if the turkey cull has been officially scrapped.

Organizers who fought to save the turkeys had a momentary sigh of relief, but were still unsure if the turkeys were completely safe.

"That is some good news," said David Karopkin, head of GooseWatch NYC.

"It doesn't mean that the problem is gone."

Karopkin said the state still hasn't gotten back to the animal rights group's request to relocate the flock or take humane steps to curb the population. Recently Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis called on the state to put up no feeding signs at the site.

Advocates at first thought the fowl would be spared in September, when the DEC allowed 28 birds to be relocated to an animal sanctuary upstate. But the USDA made another cull of the birds two months later.

The cull started after repeated complaints from staff at the psychiatric center over the birds' aggressive behavior, health concerns and traffic safety with turkeys crossing the street.

So far the USDA has made three collections of turkeys to send to the slaughterhouse — which totaled $11,994.62.  Karopkin estimates that about 75 turkeys still live on the grounds.

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