It should come as no surprise that the alarmists among us would rather eradicate part of a population than coexist with it. As my good friend Steve would point out, “Hitler tried that.”
I’m referring, of course, to legislation introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) that would “provide to the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture expedited authority to remove geese that threaten aircraft.”
A press release issued by her office in April quoted Sen. Gillibrand as saying, “We cannot afford to sit back and wait for a catastrophe to occur before cutting through bureaucratic red tape between federal agencies … We cannot and should not wait another day to act while public safety is at risk.”
Gillibrand’s proposed legislation would order the extermination of Canada geese “on a determination by the Federal Aviation Administration that the population of Canada geese residing on land under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service that is located within (five) miles of any commercial airport poses a risk to flight safety.”
Gillibrand’s bill also calls on the powers that be at John F. Kennedy International Airport to “issue a record of decision for the document entitled ‘Supplement to the Environmental Impact Statement Bird Hazard Reduction Program: John F. Kennedy International Airport’” and to “commence consultation with the Secretary of the Interior to complete the collection and removal of Canada geese from the applicable National Park Service land.”
Gillibrand is, of course, overreacting to reports that in less than one week’s time, two commercial airliners were forced to make emergency landings after colliding with Canada geese.
As described by CBS News’ Scott Pelley in the video provided above, “A JetBlue flight took off from Westchester County, New York, bound for West Palm Beach, Florida, when it collided with at least two Canada geese” and “a flock of birds damaged the engine of a Los Angeles-bound Delta flight after takeoff from New York’s Kennedy Airport.”
In the CBS News video provided above — and as featured on the Friends of Animals website — Pelley reports that “over the past two decades, bird strikes have increased from nearly 1,800 a year to more than 9,600,” and he asks Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (who famously and safely landed a commercial airliner in the Hudson River after the plane collided with Canada geese), “Why (has) the number of bird strikes increased so dramatically?”
“The bird populations have increased and we’re flying more flights now than we ever have before,” Sullenberger says.
“What can airports do about this?” Pelley asks.
“Effective land-use planning around local airports is the best (way) to prevent birds from roosting near the airport,” Sullenberger says. “It’s important that we not build anywhere near an airport anything likely to attract birds, especially trash facilities.”
Pelley points out, “You don’t want to build a garbage dump next to an airport, for example.”
“Exactly,” Sullenberger says. “In fact in New York City right now there are plans to do just that, and it’s a terrible idea to build something there that’s likely to attract birds.”
Still, there are those who expect wildlife to get the hell out of mankind’s way or be forcibly removed.
Aviation consultant Michael Boyd, the president of Boyd Group International, contributed an opinion piece to Fox News in which he insisted that “any factor that threatens the safety of air travel must be (addressed) to the fullest extent reasonably possible. So if there is a bird sanctuary or avian nesting area that generates or attracts flying creatures which may even distantly represent a threat to air safety, there is only one option: remove it. Birds can go live and play and make little birds someplace else. … Birds can live somewhere other than near major airports.”
If Sen. Gillibrand and Mr. Boyd get their way, Canada geese will even be forcibly removed from areas designated for the birds’ protection.
The good folks at Friends of Animals point out on the organization’s website that Gillibrand’s legislation “would change current law and open up the federally protected Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to the USDA’s Wildlife Service agents and allow them to capture and kill the Canada geese in the New York City refuge. We cannot allow this destructive bill to pass and set a dangerous precedent that would declare open season on wildlife in refuges that exist to protect them. Air safety will be only improved by focusing on deterring geese and other birds from airports through habitat modification, effective land-use planning and radar detection, not by killing birds.”
In his opinion piece, Mr. Boyd admits that “on a probability scale, the odds of an airliner accident being caused by running into birds are right up there with winning the lottery.”
The Federal Aviation Administration website tells us that “since 1990, there have been a total of 23 fatalities attributed to wildlife strikes with U.S. civil aircraft.”
If we’re going to kill off each and every species that presents a potential threat to human safety, we might as well start with the biggest threat of all: Homo sapiens.