Hundreds of Canada geese were rounded up in Jamaica Bay for the second year in a row. The captured geese will be euthanized in the name of human air safety. The New York Times is reporting that the controlled slaughter of the geese is an effort on the part of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to cut the Canada geese population in half so they don’t disrupt air traffic.
Just like last year, the meat of the dead geese will be distributed to food pantries across the city. The Times explained why the annual mass goose killings have been authorized:
Hundreds of geese have been removed each summer from parks within a few miles of the area’s major airports and slaughtered — much to the dismay of animal-rights advocates — since 2009, after a US Airways jet was brought down in the Hudson River by a bird strike. The government is trying to nearly halve the Canada goose population in 17 Atlantic states, to 650,000 from 1.1 million.
As the report indicates, animal activists are not happy about the practice. Edita Birnkrant, New York director of Friends of Animals, expressed her horror to the Times in an email.
“The adult geese and babies were squawking loudly in distress as they were stuffed into the crates. That this is happening in NYC’s only wildlife refuge is stunning.”
The National Parks Service noted that in addition to the 500 geese planned for capture in Jamaica Bay, 322 geese have been captured in parks across the city. According to experts, their population control plans have thus far worked as the number of geese they have nabbed this year has declined.
Still, it’s kind of terribly heartbreaking and sad.