Over the previous decade or so, investigations have revealed the merciless habits that happens in pigeon racing.

Footage and eyewitness accounts have proven that pigeon racing just isn’t a sport; slightly, it’s animal cruelty.

These poor birds are sometimes saved in horrible circumstances and are pressured to race primarily for the leisure of people (and for cash).

After all, pigeons aren’t the one animals which can be used for sport, however they’re the main focus of this explicit expose.

Some folks have claimed that sure racing pigeons have been handled properly and that their residing environments have been greater than satisfactory, however this isn’t all the time the case.

One pigeon coach stated he believes the birds are “joyful to race.” However, after all, that is an instance of anthropomorphism, and we will’t really know the birds’ emotions and feelings.

This identical coach asserts that the pigeons “get pleasure from pampered lives,” whereas additionally admitting that the birds don’t “volunteer” to race.

Supply: PETA/YouTube

PETA has been encouraging folks to talk out about pigeon racing for greater than a decade. This consists of an investigation that lasted two months that noticed pigeons “pressured to fly as much as 900 miles” as a part of cross-channel pigeon racing in the UK. In accordance with this investigation, hundreds of birds have been presumed to have died because of this “grueling and unsafe” race. Sadly, per PETA’s video footage, these pigeons who survived might have been killed resulting from not being “worthwhile sufficient” for racing or breeding. After PETA investigated massive U.S.-based pigeon operations, three racing organizers have been charged with violating “felony playing legal guidelines” in Oklahoma. In the course of the 15-month investigation, which was launched in 2012 and spanned 5 states, investigators found undesirable pigeons being killed and abused, and so they additionally “documented large casualties” of pigeons throughout coaching and racing. In accordance with the investigators, for races that may very well be as much as 600 miles lengthy, upwards of 60 % of pigeons would get misplaced or die resulting from electrical traces, exhaustion, excessive climate, hunters, or predators. Essentially the most deadly of races are referred to as “smash races.” The commonest hazard for these pigeons is predators — particularly, birds of prey, which have been illegally killed by some pigeon fanciers who needed to keep away from the bigger birds killing their “worthwhile pigeons.” One other frequent hazard is when pigeons fly immediately into objects they’re unable to see correctly (or in any respect), resulting from tough flying and/or climate circumstances. These birds might return to their houses with lacking feathers or with wounds.

Supply: PETA/YouTube

Investigations on pigeon racing have been ongoing and, earlier this yr, the Taiwan Fowl Rescue Affiliation (TBRA) referred to as for extra motion towards pigeon racing. In June, authorities “arrested members of a gaggle” that supposedly “kidnapped racing pigeons for ransom.” Whereas pigeons can dwell as much as 15 years and racing pigeons could also be as outdated as 10, the racing scene in Taiwan might use birds in grueling races who’re lower than a yr outdated. The Taichung Metropolis’s Animal Safety Workplace launched a photograph exhibiting 34 caged racing pigeons — who’d been deserted — whose legs and wings had been clipped. Sadly, it’s tough to do a lot about pigeon racing in Taiwan, as racing organizations are “cautious of outsiders” and their “pens are scattered” throughout the nation. With the assistance of Shaunak, an animal rescuer based mostly in India who was featured in final yr’s documentary “All That Breathes,” the TBRA launched a petition about pigeon racing in Taiwan. The petition claims that the pigeon racing trade has been “stricken by animal cruelty and arranged crime,” calling for a “thorough investigation” to find out the “full extent” of the crime and cruelty. The petition additionally seeks accountability and “authorized penalties” relating to the folks concerned within the aforementioned “felony actions.”

Supply: PETA/YouTube

As bodily taxing as it’s for these birds to fly in races, it may be equally distressing for them earlier than race launch. For instance, they may very well be crammed in cages with as much as 20 different pigeons, who’re then transported with many others for as much as per week. Additionally, as a result of these pigeons is perhaps launched alongside different birds, they might all “change viruses and infections” on their return journeys. As well as, those who survive might carry again avian flu, which is harmful for animals and people alike. Pigeons who supposedly aren’t “quick sufficient” and who aren’t thought of helpful for breeding will often be “culled.” This implies they’ll killed by decapitation, drowning, gassing, neck-breaking, or suffocation. Apparently, based on PETA documentation, one notable racer admitted he’d purchase a dozen pigeons for breeding functions, discover the one he needed, after which kill the remaining and all of their offspring. One other racer stated that, when studying methods to be a pigeon racer, “the very first thing it’s a must to be taught” is “methods to kill pigeons.” The pigeon racing trade is estimated to generate $15 million per yr through unlawful playing, which consists of violations for racketeering, tax evasion, and federal playing.

Supply: ENTR en/YouTube

Pigeon racing is a merciless so-called sport that, even with the very best of intentions, doesn’t have optimistic outcomes. The perfect factor that may occur for the birds is that they survive the race; however, even then, they are going to proceed for use in racing occasions till they’re decided to be not of use and can ultimately be killed in (oftentimes) brutal methods). Regardless of individuals who declare that their pigeons are handled excellently and that they don’t seem to be doing it for the cash and/or leisure, these birds are nonetheless being pressured to do one thing that, have been they in a position to communicate up for themselves, they may not elect to do. Don’t Assist pigeon racing; animal sanctuaries are inspired to absorb rescued racing pigeons, particularly ones who’re injured.

This text by Alyssa Christian was first printed by One Inexperienced Planet on 19 December 2023. Picture Credit score :Jorge Alcalá/Pexels.

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