Is this story animal abuse, or reasonable force?

Hi, all! Some people in the comments section of this story feel that the behavior mentioned should be tagged as animal abuse.

Was the person in the story defending themself employing reasonable force when being bothered by a Canada Goose, or should they have dropped the food and ran away? Should this story have an ‘Animal Abuse’ tag?

What do you all think?

I was surprised there wasn’t any form of tagging when I read the story, but I’m really not sure what would fit.

To me, animal abuse implies a deliberate action of cruelty, but here it was panicked self-defense.


Reasonable force. There is no way someone should drop their food and flee when an invasive goose attacks them.
Animal abuse would be going up to a peaceful flock of geese and kicking them, or going after this attacking goose after it has fled and keeping kicking it.


There was a very aggressive goose who nested adjacent to a public walkway nearby an old workplace of mine and he would frequently attack passersby because he was highly territorial. He would also chase them for quite some distance and didn’t care about any food they may have held or dropped.

The legend goes that at one point he was relocated to a sanctuary but released because he kept attacking the other geese and workers. As the Simpsons said, like humans some animals are just jerks.

Had the story been about someone maliciously attacking the goose without cause then it would be animal abuse but defending yourself is not abuse in my opinion.


If you have to tag that one you’ll also have to tag every single story in which a human is hurt by another human as ‘violence’.

The story doesn’t suggest the goose was injured. Most likely it just got kicked and waddled off angrily since it seems the attacks stopped. And to be completely objective it started it. If this was a mugger trying to steal the customer’s food and getting kicked in the groin for it the comments would boil down to “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes”.


It was interesting to read the comments from the Canadian commentators which boiled down to “Yep, that’s the geese for you; vicious bastards”


I think @Stephen is on point here: the ‘locals’ confirm these animals are dangerous and none of them had a problem with the kick.


It does seem like a lot of the reaction depends on the perceived threat of the goose. Out of curiosity, how would people feel if someone was attacked by, and attacked in turn, the following animals? Would you consider it abuse to physically get the animal away? And how much experience do you have with them?

  • Seagulls

  • Chicken

  • Cassowary

  • Swans

  • Pack of wolves

  • Shark

  • A hippo

  • A bear

  • A buffalo

  • Angry housecat

  • A velociraptor

  • Legend of Zelda chickens

  • The Untitled Goose


For each and every one, if attacked unprovoked, violence is justified in my eyes. (Except maybe the velociraptor, you might be able to talk that one down)


The goose started it by picking a fight. Its beak wrote a cheque that its tail feathers couldn’t cash.


I am assuming that I am unarmed in the following scenarios…

  • Seagulls - Herring Gulls can get in the bin as far as I am concerned so fight.
  • Chicken - I don’t think they could seriously hurt me so given the option I’d run. If running wasn’t possible I’d fight the chicken.
  • Cassowary - Pretty sure I’d die.
  • Swans - Like the geese, if retreat isn’t an option then I’d defend myself.
  • Pack of wolves - climb a tree
  • Shark - get out of the water. If not, go for the eyes and gills rather than the nose.
  • A hippo - again, pretty sure I’d die. Nothing that big has any right to move as fast as a hippo can (they can run at 30MPH, whats up with that?!)
  • A bear - fight. Some sources tell you to play dead but apparently that only works if its a mother protecting her cubs because it tells her you aren’t a threat. Otherwise if you play dead theres a good chance you won’t be playing for long.
  • A buffalo - if penned, run for the pen. If not, climb a tree or something. Otherwise probably die.
  • Angry housecat - appeal to the owner for intervention.
  • A velociraptor - appeal to Chris Pratt for intervention.
  • Legend of Zelda chickens- turn off the console.

I classify birds as lightweight and fragile, built to fly but easily hurt. In this case maybe less so but… on the one hand, is it fair to injure or hurt an animal that is probably just hungry? And other other hand, if it gets the food, then it will come back and do it again. And on the other other hand, what’s in the sandwich? Egg? Ham? Chicken? Stuffing?

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