The Council of State has overturned an earlier court decision not to allow the gassing of geese in Zuid Holland, Omroep West reports.
Pest controllers in the province are now set to kill thousands of geese between May 15 and July 31, the period when the animals are moulting and therefore easier to catch.
The Council of State, the highest court of appeal in the Netherlands, said on Wednesday that the geese are causing huge damage to crops and that their presence around Rotterdam airport is endangering air safety. Zuid Holland will be allowed to repeat the cull in the same period next year.
Animal protection organisations Faunabescherming and Dierenradar oppose the move and said the authorities should buy out the farmers near the airport so the geese will not forage there.
The Dutch government wants to reduce the size of the goose population back to its 2005 levels which, experts say, entails the slaughter of 500,000 birds. However, gassing geese, which was given the green light by the European Commission in 2015, has been a contentious subject for years in the Netherlands which, unlike most countries, has airports surrounded by agriculture.
The Partij voor de Dieren has called the practice, which entails gassing the geese in containers, ‘cruel and a complete waste of time’ while bird research group Sovor expressed doubts about the efficacy of gassing the animals.
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