Feds plan to euthanize 700 geese in NY

Emergency responders and aircraft mechanics survey the damage to a Jet Blue aircraft that made a safe emergency landing at the Westchester County Airport in Purchase, N.Y., Tuesday, April 24, 2012. The pilot declared an emergency just after takeoff, after a pair of Canada geese struck the plane's windshield. The aircraft landed safely and there were no injuries.
Matthew Brown,AP Photo/The Journal News

(CBS News) NEW YORK - To combat the problem of Canada geese striking planes flying in and out of New York airports, federal officials plan to euthanize 700 of those birds from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, CBS New York reported.

Canada Goose, geese
A Canada Goose flies over an area of open water near the south shore of Lake Winnebago at Lakeside Park in Fond du Lac, Wis., Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008.
(AP Photo/The Reporter, Justin Connaher)

The move has drawn criticism from animal advocates. "There has not been any incident of a Canada goose from Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge crashing into any airplane from JFK or otherwise GooseWatch NYC's ," David Karopkin of told New York radio station1010 WINS. "The geese that are at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge are not posing any threat to the aircraft."

Another animal advocate criticized the removal of the geese. "Carbon dioxide asphyxiation used by the USDA is an especially cruel process that slowly strangles geese as they struggle to breathe and compete for oxygen," said veterinarian John G. Hynes.

A USDA spokeswoman said the birds will be killed upstate and donated to food pantries as meat.

Encounters with birds resulting in planes making emergency landings have been in the news, with two incidents occurring in April. The first one happened when some birds damaged the engine of a L.A. bound flight from JFK airport after take off. Less than a week later, a JetBlue flight for Florida from Westchester, N.Y, returned back to the airport after birds hit the windshield.

The most famous incident of a bird strike on an airplane happened in 2009 when Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, was forced to land the US Airways plane he was piloting on the Hudson River. Now as CBS News aviation and safety expert, Sullenberger recommended that effective land-use planning around local airports as a way to prevent birds from roosting near the airport.

In this Thursday Jan. 15, 2009 file photo, airline passengers wait to be rescued on the wings of a US Airways Airbus 320 jetliner that safely ditched in the frigid waters of the Hudson River in New York, after a flock of birds knocked out both its engines.
AP Photo/Steven Day

In April, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand brought up legislation that would bring the speedy removal of geese to ensure safety for air travelers by cutting through the bureaucracy between the USDA and National Park Service. "We cannot afford to sit back and wait for a catastrophe to occur before cutting through bureaucratic red tape between federal agencies," said Gillibrand in a press statement. "We cannot and should not wait another day to act while public safety is at risk."

According to a "CBS Evening News" report, bird strikes have increased from nearly 1,800 a year to more than 9,600 in the last two decades.