Houston: Stop Poisoning Birds at Airports

  • By: Alicia Graef
  • Target: Mayor Annise Parker, Houston Airport System

The Bush Intercontinental Airport in Texas is drawing the ire of animal lovers after news reports showed that it had needlessly poisoned hundreds of birds in the name of health and safety.

United Airlines partnered up with a pest control contractor to poison the birds, which  went with Avitrol, a controversial poison, to get the job done and placed tainted corn kernels at 20 different sites around terminals, in addition to United's maintenance hangar.

According to the manufacturer, Avitrol, which affects the nervous system, is supposed to frighten off other birds who see their counterparts in distress, and claims it's painless, but hundreds of birds were confirmed to have been killed as a result at the airport and could clearly be seen suffering as they slowly died.

While animal advocates recognize the potential threat of bird strikes, they're pushing for alternatives including netting, removing food sources, using birth control or using loud noises to deter birds from coming to airports in the first place. Still others argue that that needlessly killing birds will only open up the area for new ones to come in and like every other poison left out to allegedly manage wildlife it poses secondary risks because it doesn't discriminate.

Please sign the petition urging the airline to change its policies and pledge to use non-lethal alternatives to deal with wildlife conflicts that will keep both animals and travelers safe.

As someone who is concerned with animal welfare and wildlife, I was horrified to learn that United Airlines contracted with a pest control company that used a controversial poison, Avitrol, to kill hundreds of birds at Bush Intercontinental Airport last week.

While animal advocates recognize that bird strikes pose a serious safety risk, they have long been pushing for alternatives at airports for educe wildlife conflicts including netting, removing food sources, using birth control or using loud noises to deter birds from coming to airports in the first place.

Critics of the poison also insist that it's clearly not a humane method to deal with birds who can pose a potential problem. Avitrol itself has been banned in several cities and in the State of New York over concerns that it's cruel.

I sincerely hope that you will adopt non-lethal alternatives that can, and should, be used throughout the Houston Airport System to prevent wildlife conflicts and keep travelers safe.

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