Unfortunately from time to time someone gets on their high horse about Canada geese being the route of all evil, particularly it seems when relating to exaggerated fears concerning their droppings. Usually a white, middle aged to elderly male of the Homo Sapien species (gammon) writes a letter to their local paper and gets a little hot under the collar. Next week it will be something else, but probably about immigrants or something crime related, but for now animal coprophobia will have to do.
All of this five minutes of piss and wind may be what fills out papers, but unfortunately it does not explore the wider facts of a bigoted argument.
Animal faeces contains parasites- all animal faeces, especially including that of man. What the gammon does not appear to appreciate however is that his own dog, present in his own house, is as likely to be a host for said parasites as it is a receptor finding it from that of a wild animals like Canada geese.
I have for the record looked at different animal faeces below, together with studies which show the potential for zoonotic transfer to humans. It is of course just that, “possible” ,but almost usually very rare or unlikely.
No one likes dog shit- not even the former idiot who ran Sandwell council, whose regime murdered geese in two parks attempting to use their excrement as a lamentable reason for doing so.
Worse than stepping in dog mess are those who now colostomy bag it in single use plastic and artistically decorate any passing tree with the handles.
This article estimates that there are over 8 million dogs in the UK (compared to around 100,000 Canada geese), and that the canines produce over 1000 tonnes of faeces per day. One compares this to the much cited nonsense of Natural England papers, oft quoted by those at Sandwell council and elsewhere about geese defecating in pounds.
Dog faeces can produce several illnesses. The most notable of these remains Toxocariasis, a rare infection caused by roundworm parasites.
“Roundworm parasites are most commonly found in cats, dogs and foxes, and usually affect young children.”
Dogs are also a source of danger from their faeces to livestock in fields. Not surprisingly as well as the threats of worrying sheep and other animals as well as attacking them, signs usually ask dog owners to keep their pets under control.
According to this leaflet,
“There is growing evidence of the links between two specific diseases in livestock and the presence on grazing land of faeces from infected dogs.
The two diseases are: • Neosporosis – which can cause abortions in cattle
• Sarcocystosis – which can cause neurological disease and death in sheep.”
Neospora eggs are produced by infected dogs and excreted in their faeces. Cattle will become infected if they eat food or drink water contaminated with Neospora eggs. The researchers have stated that dogs are the definitive host of this parasite, and not foxes or other wild mammals.
” Sarcocystosis is also caused by parasites, Sarcocystis spp , which use a number of intermediate hosts, including dogs. The main points to note are:
Sarcocystis eggs are produced by infected carnivores and excreted in their faeces. • Sheep will become infected if they eat food or drink water contaminated with Sarcocystis eggs.”
Because most adult cattle, sheep, and many pigs harbour cysts in their muscles, dogs and other carnivores should not be allowed to eat raw meat, offal, or dead animals.”
For some unknown reason, horse owners are not required to pick up their animal’s droppings like dog walkers.
Horse manure can be a direct danger to some breeds of dog, particularly working dogs. The wormer Ivermectin is for some reason highly toxic to these dogs. This link gives cause for concern for collie owners.
“Initial symptoms could be similar to those of a stroke with dilated pupils and an unsteady gait with possible seizures, difficulty breathing and eventually a coma. Ivermectin toxicity cannot be reversed, and if the drug has been digested within 4 – 6 hours, your vet may induce vomiting and/or give your dog activated charcoal to help minimize the amount of ivermectin that is absorbed. “
Higher concentrations of ivermectin used in horse wormers can be very dangerous in excreted faeces to dogs.
I have never become sick or ill as a result of handling and rescuing wildfowl including geese in over 20 years, and neither has anyone I know who have being doing it much longer. The risk to those directly handling wild birds is proportionately greater than those who may happen to step in some goose poo from time to time.
When setting out Sandwell council’s ludicrous reasons for culling I noted the following
RISKS APPEAR IMAGINED RATHER THAN PROVEN. THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE PIECE OF DIRECT EVIDENCE IN ANY STUDY TO CONFIRM TRANSMISSION OF POTENTIAL CITED PATHOGENS CARRIED IN EVERY ANIMAL, INCLUDING MAN, THAT CAN BE TRACED BACK TO BEING CAUSED BY CANADA GEESE OR THEIR FAECES.
Public health England link “outbreaks of Cryptosporidiosis …..to drinking or swimming in contaminated water and contact with infected lambs and calves during open visits to farms. “
THEY DO NOT MENTION CANADA GEESE, as likely sources.
“the results… indicate that Canada geese might only serve as an accidental carrier of cryptosporidia infections to humans and probably play a minor role in the animal to human transmission cycle of the pathogens.”
Ecoli is an ubiquitous pathogen found in the gut of warm blooded animals including man. Most strains pose no risk to human health. Ecoli 0157 is a strain that has been reported in the region in association with free roaming cattle at Sutton park in 2012.
Moriaty et al has also published a related study “Survival of Escherichia coli, Enterococci, and Campylobacter (SPECIES) in Sheep Feces on Pastures” . Sheep and cows of course graze within Cretan areas, where large numbers of people gather and pass through.
The study found concentrations of E. coli, enterococci, and Campylobacter (species) appear to be higher in sheep faeces than in cow pats, but both may contain all the pathogens cited as being harmful to human health that the council cannot show any evidence of being present in Sandwell’s geese.
In short the risk of pathogens from farm animals are higher than from Canada geese, yet Sandwell council appear to hypocritically encourage the animal to human contact with farm animals at its farms, according to its own facebook page allowing children to handle new born lambs.
It is therefore difficult to know whether to blame one animal for transmission of parasites in their droppings to another, humans for creating much of the issues, or the tiny parasites themselves. One could indeed ask, which came first, the parasite, or the eggs? What is not acceptable is singling out one species for continued persecution whilst ignoring others.
Most bizarrely of all, the gammon is happy to feed on animals whose meat could cause far more severe illness than their associated droppings, yet I have read letters of how they would happily exterminate geese and “feed them to the homeless.” So much compassion for their fellow man, just hopefully the homeless won’t go shitting on the grass! 😆