The St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota houses the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences programs. At this location, students and staff conduct world class academic research and development in cereal crops. Trials conducted at this location aim to reduce losses in wheat, oat, and barely to major herbal diseases. Research into new plant variations, herbicidal resistance, crop staging, and rotational practices allows for the modern farmer to more effectively manage his/her produce, while increasing throughput and decreasing cost. All of the research conducted by the organization occurs on land plots located directly on campus- an invaluable resource.
During the usage of the land plots, dating back to the mid-1950s, the crops planted their have been subject to extensive destruction by nesting birds. This damage drastically decreased the throughput of crops planted, reducing total yield by an estimated 25%. These experimental plots are instrumental to effective research, collegiate enrollment, and the betterment of the agricultural industry. The genetic history and continued improvement in the plants grown there provide a vital link into future successes worldwide. As a result, it is important for the university to effectively protect the crops from bird damage.
Dating back to 1955, the first year that trapped bird data was recorded, anywhere from 2,200 to 10,400 birds were trapped each year, averaging a mixture of 6,000 Sparrows, Blackbirds, Starlings, Grackles, and Cow Birds annually. Once the birds were captive, any Doves and Songbirds were let free, and the remaining birds were asphyxiated.
Recently, the practice of bird removal has caught both activist and media attention. Live broadcasts from the site have been recorded by KSTP, a local television station, alongside news articles published in the Minneapolis-Star Tribune and the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. In the face of scrutiny and negative public relations, the University of Minnesota has chosen to reevaluate its procedures in preserving the crops maintained on 120 acres east of the campus.
The Dean of the College of Agriculture, Dr. Keith Wharton, has received a stern letter from the Animal Rights Coalition Incorporated, demanding that the wasting of animal life and trapping at the campus are ceased. This letter, sent by Dan Oldre, addresses that the trapping of the birds is both ineffective, and...