geese demonstration

Linda Turnbull leads a chant of "Oh my God, you killed the geese" in reference to the "charity harvest" of 175 geese at Crystal Lake Park on Monday. She joined a protest at the corner of Broadway and Race in Urbana on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

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URBANA — Friends of the Geese are hosting a memorial service Saturday for the 175 geese killed this week by the Urbana Park District in its “charity harvest.”

“Please wear dark clothes if you can, bring a candle, and some small token to leave in Crystal Lake Park for the spirits of these brave and faithful animals,” organizer Susan Parenti said in an email.

The park district held the harvest Monday morning to bring the population to a manageable level; 35 geese were released back into the park.

Since the park district board unanimously approved the harvest in May, the Friends of the Geese have protested in front of the park twice a week.

The group plans to meet at 5 p.m. at the Lake House for the memorial.

“In this Memorial we’ll also remember the attempts happening right now to halt brutality, to increase care,” Parenti wrote. “To stand up for an animal does not mean to stand down for humans.”

The park district received its permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the state department and U.S. Department of Agriculture managed the geese collection.

The geese were loaded into transport crates, which were put on vehicles with trailers. From there, they were taken to a poultry processing plant, with the to be donated to a food bank.