China's latest crime-fighting tool has feathers

Chinese police forces in rural areas of Xinjiang province have turned to a low-tech tactic that's been used for centuries to tackle crime.
Written by Kirsten Korosec, Contributor

Chinese police forces in rural areas of Xinjiang province have turned to domesticated geese to help fight crime.

The gaggle of geese have been so effective, police are actively promoting their use across the region, according to a report on the Chinese language website of the state-run People's Daily newspaper (which The Telegraph also reported on).

The geese were described as a "highlight of stability maintenance work" and were "better than dogs" in fighting crime, law enforcement agents said in the report.

Employing geese as security guards is an innovative, yet low-tech tactic that has been used for centuries.

Geese, which are among the most aggressive of all poultry, have exceptional eyesight and wide field of vision and when combined with their strident voices, make excellent guards against approaching strangers or predators since outsiders cannot calm them into silence, according to a 1995 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Whisky maker Ballatine's used a gaggle of geese (dubbed The Scotch Watch) to protect its bonded warehouses in Scotland from 1959 until last year when drinks giant Chivas Brothers purchased the site. In 390 BC, holy geese housed in the temple of Rome's fort alerted guards the city was under attack by Gallic troops. Today, people living in the high Andes and Southeast Asia have replaced their guard dogs with geese.

Photo: Embden geese by Flickr user Michael L. Baird

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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