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Originally published June 25 2011

NYC slaughtering city geese to provide food for homeless

by Sally Oaken

(NaturalNews) In early 2009, after a five month series of meetings between the New York City Parks Department, the USDA, the National Park Service and several members of New York City government, a plan was put in place to eliminate Canada geese living near on or near airports around the city.

The goose removal plan calls for a long term effort to exterminate about 170,000 Canada geese, about two thirds of the state's population, through hunting, birth control or carbon dioxide asphyxiation.

The plan has drawn considerable controversy. Public reaction has been tense, especially after 400 geese were rounded up in Brooklyn's Prospect Park and slaughtered in 2010. The primary motivation for goose removal has been the prevention of collisions between geese and planes, which have caused roughly 2.2 million dollars of aircraft damage in New York during the last ten years.

Some agencies and animal welfare groups suggest that the plan is extreme, and many Brooklyn residents have objected strongly to the Prospect Park event, especially after the slaughtered geese were placed in plastic bags and deposited in landfills.

Since the Prospect Park slaughter, proposals have been submitted suggesting that the geese be processed at poultry facilities and delivered to homeless shelters and soup kitchens in the New York area. Many of the geese have, in fact, been delivered to shelters and food banks in other states, including Oregon and Pennsylvania.

But New York City officials maintain that New York State offers no legal guidelines that can regulate how the geese are tested for toxins, tests which must take place before they are distributed in New York as food. The states which are receiving the geese are not bound by these concerns. Pennsylvania, on the contrary, legally requires all culled or slaughtered wildlife to be distributed to food banks.

Until New York can establish protocols for testing and processing, the geese will continue to be discarded in landfills or transported to other states. But controversy exists on the receiving end of transaction as well. Many Oregon and Pennsylvania residents object to the willingness of their states and food banks to accept the geese.

Public officials promote the plan as a two pronged effort to protect the airline industry and also help the needy. Opponents argue that the involvement of food banks generates public approval for an unnecessary and ill-advised plan by framing it as an act of charity.

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