Brussels clears way for geese to be gassed throughout the Netherlands
The European Commission has given the green light to pest controllers to gas hundreds of thousands of geese throughout the Netherlands.
At present, geese can only be gassed within a 20 kilometre radius of Schiphol airport because of the threat the birds pose to aircraft.
Elsewhere geese have to be killed manually. The government wants to reduce the size of the goose population in the Netherlands back to its 2005 levels which, experts say, will entail the slaughter of 500,000 birds.
The permit to use carbon dioxide to kill the birds has been granted to Duke Faunabeheer, which has the contract to gas geese around the airport. It will start catching and gassing geese in Utrecht and Noord-Holland provinces in the last week of May.
However, bird research group Sovon says it is far from clear if killing geese actually reduces the population. And animal rights party PvdD says a better method of controlling geese numbers would be to grow different sorts of crops in the areas where the birds concentrate.