Opinion: Inhumane choice to gas 750 geese to death by JFK

USDA agents round up the geese at Jamaica Preserve on July 9.
National Park Service

The cruel decision to roundup and exterminate 751 Canada geese at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last Monday was based on bad science, and counters the very definition of a “wildlife refuge.”

Although the removal operations were funded by taxpayers, no prior public notice was given and transparency has been denied. Officials claim the roundup and gassing of these birds was conducted humanely, but our requests for documentation, even by the media or other third parties, have been dismissed.

The roundups are not humane in any way, and carbon dioxide asphyxiation of these birds is especially cruel. The goose meat donated to food banks under the guise of charity are unregulated and insufficiently inspected, in other words, potentially toxic.

The removals proceeded despite pleas from animal advocates, aviation experts, biologists, ecologists, and public officials, who agree that the removal of these birds will have no impact on the alleged risk posed to airplanes. Actually, the removals could even prove counterproductive, as other birds can be expected to reoccupy the newly created vacant habitat.

DNA testing by The Smithsonian Institute determined that geese which collided with Flight 1549, the “Miracle on the Hudson,” were migrating from Labrador, Canada — and do not live in the area around the city’s airports. Geese migrating through New York in January are distinct from the population of geese targeted by summer round-ups; even removing every animal in New York City would not have prevented the potentially horrific incident.

Long-term solutions to protect air passengers from dangers, not limited to bird strikes, are available and must be implemented.

David Karopkin
Founder, GooseWatch NYC

Metro does not endorse any editorials it publishes. Opposing views are welcome and op-eds can be submitted to letters@metro.us


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