The slaughtering of ten geese in Inwood Hill Park yesterday morning has caused outrage amongst locals and goose lovers alike.
David Karopkin, the leader of interest group GoosewatchNYC, told The Observer that the killing of the animals, which effectively wiped out the park population, was “egregiously cruel,” “uses taxpayer money” and “was undertaken with no consultation of the public.”
The USDA argues that the culls are necessary in order to protect air travel, pointing to the birds as a possible cause of the dramatic Hudson Miracle plane crash in early 2009. The killing programs are said to lower the risk of birds hitting the planes.
“You cannot kill every bird in the sky, you cannot kill your way out of this problem,” he said.
The Observer spoke with Carol Bannerman, a spokeswoman for the USDA, who pointed out that killing the geese is only a last resort. ”We chase away around 90% of the geese we encounter,” she said.
Mr. Karopkin questioned whether or not there was a “shred of evidence” to support the agency’s claim that the birds put planes in danger, saying that the incident that made Captain Chesley Sully Sullenberger a hero was a rarity.
“The USDA cannot say that killing geese results in less bird crashes because it hasn’t,” said Mr. Karopkin. “They wanted to kill the geese long before the miracle and used that as an impetus using public opinion.”
He also said that plans to serve the meat at area soup kitchens are nothing more than a PR stunt, since the animals could be toxic due to their diet.
Ms. Bannerman countered that the meat would be perfectly safe, but she did admit that the events in Inwood were out of the ordinary.
“We don’t usually take all of the geese,” she acknowledged, but then argued that amid the bloodshed, there’s a bigger picture at play. ”Canada Geese are a conservation success story. There are a lot of them.”
We’re not sure if residents feel the same way.