CNN reports this week that officials in New York have been euthanizing geese near airports because the birds present an “aviation risk”. The state has been killing geese in an attempt to reduce their numbers near NYC airports after geese forced US Airways flight 1549 to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River in January of last year.
It is typical of humanity’s dealings with animals that whenever an animal presents an inconvenience to our way of life, our first reaction is to have them killed. We regard animal life as so expendable, so void of moral concern, that we don’t even wait until an animal presents a real threat to the necessities of our existence before we start killing them en masse. Nor do we even consider other alternatives to killing them. In fact we don’t even consider whether mass killings will even solve the problem. Humans treat killing animals as the first option on the table for solving whatever the problem is. We start killing animals, and then only if that doesn’t work, do we start to consider other solutions.
The most recent geese killed were residing in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, which just barely falls within the expanded radius from the airports in which geese are to be killed. The geese were molting and unable to fly, which made it fairly easy to round them up in cages and kill them with carbon dioxide. They were then bagged and thrown into a landfill, according to CNN.
Bagged and thrown into a landfill.
There are lots of problems with this proposed “solution” to the goose problem. The first and most obvious one is a common sense issue: the goose population is skyrocketing at such a rate that these tactics aren’t going to be effective. Any geese they kill in Prospect Park will be replaced by other geese who move in to fill the empty territory and make use of the resources there.
The second problem with this tactic is that hundreds of living, sentient beings are being murdered so they don’t potentially interfere with tourism and air travel.
The issue has never been, and never will be, trading the lives of geese for the lives of people. Killing the geese doesn’t save lives, and leaving the geese where they are doesn’t kill people. The issue is whether people care enough about the lives of innocent animals to try out non-lethal solutions. Or are we just going to continue slaughtering animals by the hundreds because we’re too lazy to find a solution that works and doesn’t involve killing?
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