NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Federal officials have rounded up about 700 geese from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

The animals are to be euthanized in the hopes of preventing airstrikes of passenger planes flying out of both John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports.

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In April, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand proposed a bill authorizing authorities to remove Canada geese from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in June and July when the birds are molting and cannot fly.

The move came after bird strikes forced emergency landings of two commercial airliners.

The pilot on JetBlue Flight 571 declared an emergency and returned to the runway after hitting two geese after departing Westchester County Airport on April 24.

A week prior, a flight bound for Los Angeles had to make an emergency landing at John F. Kennedy Airport after striking a bird. No one was hurt.

Animal advocates call the mass killings senseless.

“There has not been any incident of a Canada goose from Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge crashing into any airplane from JFK or otherwise,” David Karopkin of GooseWatch NYC told 1010 WINS. “The geese that are at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge are not posing any threat to the aircraft.”

Goose eradication was authorized in New York City after birds were sucked into both engines of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 out of LaGuardia in 2009.

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Capt. Chesley ”Sully” Sullenberger safely landed the plane in the Hudson River.

Nearly 1,700 Canada geese were rounded up and killed in New York City in 2010, but animal rights groups say the method isn’t working to prevent bird strikes.

A spokeswoman for the USDA said the birds will be slaughtered upstate and the meat given to food pantries.

Karopkin and other animal advocates claim the culling is inhumane.

“Carbon dioxide asphyxiation used by the USDA is an especially cruel process that slowly strangles geese as they struggle to breathe and compete for oxygen,” said John G. Hynes, DVM, USDA Accredited Veterinarian, NY & NJ.

Karopkin said it can take the geese up to an hour to die.

Karopkin is also skeptical that any of the meat will end up on anyone’s dinner plate.

“There have been instances in the past where food banks have rejected the meat or because of issues regarding the specific facilities that haven’t been able to properly cook or distribute the meat,” Karopkin said.

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