Geese caught in NYC to be fed to hungry in Pa.

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). (geese)

NEW YORK - New York City plans to send geese captured around its airports to a slaughterhouse in Pennsylvania, where the high-protein, free-range meat will be sent to food banks.

The decision by the city Department of Environmental Protection was made following criticism that the gassed geese were dumped into landfills.

A department spokesman tells The New York Times that it wanted to enhance public safety but also help those in need. He says Pennsylvania was chosen because it has a protocol for processing and distributing slaughtered geese.

Goose eradication was authorized after U.S. Airways Flight 1549 made a miraculous landing in the Hudson River in 2009 after geese were caught in its engines.

The agency says that next year the meat will probably be fed to needy New Yorkers.

According to the Times, Canada goose meat is widely believed to be unpalatable, but a Virginia-based locavore said that a properly handled goose is tastier than most species of duck.

Last year, the government killed 1,676 geese in New York City and western Nassau County, the newspaper reported.