New York City is working on plans to capture geese while they are molting and can’t fly in order to ship them to Pennsylvania, where they will be slaughtered and served at food banks.
The plan is an attempt to improve air safety that was spurred by the U.S. Airways plane that ended up in the Hudson River after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport when some geese got caught in the engine in 2009, reports Reuters.
After that, the city began culling geese by the hundreds, despite non-lethal alternatives being available including habitat modification, hazing or using repellents and scare devices. Last year, approximately 1,676 geese were captured, gassed, double bagged and thrown in landfills, which prompted public outcry, according to the New York Times.
“Rather than disposing of them in landfills, we wanted to make sure they do not go to waste,” said a spokesman for the city’s Department of Environmental Protection about this years plan. Pennsylvania was chosen because the state has the means to test and process goose meat.
Last year, about 400 geese and goslings were taken from Prospect Park in Brooklyn alone, much to the dismay of residents who enjoyed having wildlife in the area. Both residents and biologists also noted that the geese that live in the park are year round residents, as opposed to migratory geese, who were responsible for causing the US Airways incident. Others pointed out that the parks are one of the few places city dwellers have access to nature and wildlife.
This year, between 700 and 800 geese living within 7 miles of airports will meet a similar fate. The city will not say when or where geese will be rounded up in an effort to “reduce stress” and keep residents from interfering. However, they have announced that geese at Prospect Park, Douglaston Park Golf Course in Queens, East River State Park in Manhattan and Roberto Clemente State Park in the Bronx will be left alone.
Activists are still on watch, Friends of Animals announced that they have about 100 people who are on call around the clock and will come help defend the geese if the USDA is spotted.
“Last year, the community was fast asleep when the USDA came in the middle of the night to round up Prospect Park’s Canada geese. This year we will be wide awake, watching and waiting,” said GooseWatch organizer and Brooklyn resident David Karopkin
Photo Credit: Andy Middleton Photography