Animal rights group files lawsuit over culling of Denver geese

DENVER -- An animal rights group is challenging the legality of Denver's recent goose round-up, in which more than 2,000 Canada geese were captured, killed and processed.

That meat recently ended up on the shelves at a Denver food pantry. 

The round-up has received plenty of backlash from some Denver residents, who voiced concerns at a City Council meeting Monday night.

"People really are opposed to geese slaughter in their backyard," said Michael Harris.

Harris is the Legal Director for Friends of Animals, the group behind the lawsuit.

Read: Full lawsuit filed by Friends of Animals

That lawsuit claims Colorado Wildlife Services, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA acted illegally by distributing that meat for human consumption.

A permit obtained by FOX31 says. "migratory birds taken under this permit may also be donated free-of-charge to charitable organization."

"The permit didn't really cover the scope of these activities," said Harris. "It didn't cover giving the carcasses away as meat for food at all. I think it's pretty clear depredation permits aren't supposed to be meat give-aways."

Both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA declined to comment on the litigation Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sent the following response to FOX31 Tuesday afternoon, asking for clarification on the language in the permit:

"Condition N in our permit authorizes the donation of game birds to charitable organizations, which is allowable under the Act."

Harris says the lawsuit will likely appear in front of a judge within the next two months.

"We hope that before a court even rules, that the government will do the right thing and call this off before next year comes around, and put something like this in place again," he said.

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