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June 15, 2009

The HSUS Calls for More Effective, Humane Goose Control for New York City Airports

The Humane Society of the United States

The best and most lasting solution to secure the safety of air travelers, as well as preserve wildlife, is to reduce the attractiveness of airport-vicinity open space to animals such as waterfowl and to limit access to other creatures.

Studies have shown that the answer to improving safety lies not in repeated removal of wildlife, be they deer or Canada geese or any of the variety of species of hawks and other birds often targeted. Instead, The Humane Society of the United States implores officials to follow a more sensible and effective path: making airport areas less desirable for birds and barring access for terrestrial species such as deer with fences.

Without such measures, killing wildlife becomes an endless and expensive undertaking that almost never accomplishes the goal of keeping animals and aircraft separated. By now, airport and civic officials should recognize that when dealing with plentiful animals, others of the species fill voids created if the local habitat remains inviting.

Canada geese, in particular, can be successfully managed with nonlethal techniques including hazing, aversive conditioning, egg addling and landscape management. In short, geese are not attracted to places that are not attractive — and that simple approach should guide airport area managers. Such an approach was proposed for New York City and unfortunately rejected. 

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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