NYC to send airport geese to food banks for the poor

6/21/2011 5:16:59 AM

New York City plans to round-up geese that could threaten planes at its airports and ship them to Pennsylvania to be cooked as meals for the poor, The New York Times reports.

Reuters says "the plan is aimed at avoiding incidents like the forced landing of a US Airways plane in the Hudson River in January 2009 after a flock of errant geese were caught in the engine during takeoff from LaGuardia Airport."

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CNN notes the U.S. Department of Agriculture began culling "the geese population in New York three years ago after geese got into the engines of US Airways flight 1549, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing into the Hudson River."

However, that effort prompted an outcry after more than 1,600 geese were gassed last year and then sent as trash to landfills.

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"This year," writes the Daily Mail of London, "officials have bowed to pressure and decided to turn the city's geese into dinner rather than trash, by sending them to Pennsylvania's food banks."

"The city's main priority is the protection of the flying public, so if there are large pockets of geese near airports we will take the same steps as previously, but if we can use the geese for those in need, we thought it would be worthwhile to do so," Farrell Sklerov of the New York Department of Environmental Protection says to CNN.

The National Post of Toronto notes the geese -- Canada geese in particular -- have become more than just a nuisance as their populations have soared in busy metropolitan areas. The newspaper says the culling of the geese " is part of a long-term effort to reduce (New York City's) goose population to 4,000 from 25,000 in the name of airline safety."

The Post adds that "beyond their hissing and honking, pooping and molting, grass-eating and vineyard-pillaging, the birds are a public safety issue. (Just) last week at the airport in Windsor, Ont., a Porter Airlines flight was approaching the runway when it 'struck three Canada Geese flying in a vee formation in the same direction of the aircraft,' according to a report submitted to Transport Canada."

The Post says both propellers of the Porter Q400 were hit, ultimately forcing the airline to replace an engine blade.

As for those curious about the type of meals the cooked geese will provide, Virginia-based author and "locavore activist" says the geese can be prepared in an appealing manner.

"It's like a lean beef covered in a layer of good-tasting fat,," Landers tells the Post.

"It's perfectly good food, and eating it would give greater meaning to the cull," adds Landers, who also is the author of an upcoming book titled: Eating Aliens: One Man's Answer to Invasive Species.

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