HOUSTON -- Mayor Annise Parker said the city of Houston will undertake a review of how wildlife is handled at Houston airports following the poisoning deaths of hundreds of birds at Bush Intercontinental Airport over the weekend.
“The Houston Airport System is aware of the sensitive nature of this topic and certainly wants to move forward in a respectful manner,” Mayor Parker said in a written statement.
The I-Team captured video of pigeons and grackles slowly dying after prolonged seizures and convulsions.
They were poisoned by a United Airlines-hired licensed pest control operator, using a controversial toxicant called Avitrol. The chemical has been banned in the State of New York since 2000 amid inhumane and cruelty concerns.
A United spokesperson said the effort was to reduce health and safety risks associated with birds at airports. According to federal records, 78 bird strikes were reported in 2013 at Bush Intercontinental Airport.
But the company is now reconsidering Avitrol for bird abatement.
"We will be working with the contractor to explore alternate methods to control the bird population around the terminal and maintenance facilities at IAH in the future,” said United spokesperson Mary Clark.
The Houston Airport System added the following statement Thursday:
"The Houston Airport System is committed to maintaining safe and efficient operations at all three of its airport facilities and we believe that this goal can be accomplished while simultaneously maintaining a respectful wildlife mitigation program. It was this goal that led us to hire two Certified Airport Wildlife Biologists more than a month ago, in a drive to gather the most expert information possible in effectively dealing with the broad and challenging issue of wildlife mitigation.
We look forward to taking part in a group discussion that includes input from these two experts, fellow representatives with the City of Houston and other key stakeholders as we collectively move forward in a productive manner."