Written by Alisa Mullins
Ray is a beautiful white-and-gray fantail
pigeon who was seized along with dozens of other pigeons by animal control
officers because of neglect. He had an infected eye and was in poor health, but
the woman who had alerted authorities to the birds' plight convinced them to
let her adopt him. Unfortunately, she was ill-equipped to care for Ray (she
didn't know what sex he was and called him "Rachel") and put him in a
dog crate in her basement, where he stayed for the next four years. He was prevented from flying and never received any treatment for his eye infection.
Finally, the woman grew tired of him and
contacted PETA. We arranged for Ray to be driven from Virginia to the Wild Bird
Fund, a wonderful wildlife rehabilitation facility in New York City, where he
immediately began receiving treatment for his eye and other medical conditions.
He now lives in a spacious aviary in upstate New York, where he can fly and be
friends with other birds for the first time in years.
Ray quickly attracted the attention of another
rescued pigeon, which is no surprise, considering how handsome he is. His new
family writes, "From the moment Ray arrived, Bently had her eye on him.
After Ray chose a nest box, Bently picked a nest box right above him and then
would sneak into Ray's box when he was out and about. At first, Ray did not
want anything to do with Bently: He would peck and wing-slap her to get her out
of his box. This did not deter Bently at all—she pecked right back, and after a
few days, it was love!"
What You Can Do
Pigeon racers use the devotion of birds like Ray and Bently against them and force birds to
fly hundreds of miles to return to their mates. More than 60 percent of birds die
or are lost in such races. Thousands of dollars may be bet on races, generating
millions annually in illegal gambling proceeds. You
can help by contacting U.S. Attorney General
Eric Holder and urging him to take action to stop cruel and unlawful
Written by Jeff Mackey
When this orphaned baby pigeon was brought
into a parks department office, the woman who accepted the hatchling did the right
thing and contacted animal control—but unfortunately, animal-control officers didn't
do the right thing. Although they said they'd come get the bird, they didn't
show up. So the tenacious lady made another smart move: She called PETA.
The little one was lethargic, having been without his parents
for so long, so PETA's caseworker quickly called the agency responsible for
rescue and rehabilitation for animal control and had it expedite care. You'll be glad to know that the
pigeon was successfully rehabbed. His future looks bright—or, as the caseworker
put it, "He is going to be a rock star among pigeons."
If you want to be
a rock star among pigeons (or any other animals), all you have to do is be ready to offer assistance when they're in trouble—and don't give up until they receive the help they
Written by Michelle Kretzer
former PETA staffer in Seattle was on her way to work when she spotted a pigeon whose leg appeared to
be broken. When the pigeon didn't try to fly away and let her gently wrap him
up in a sweatshirt, she knew he also likely had other injuries or hadn't been
able to forage for food and was weak from hunger or illness.
former staffer called PETA, and we put her in touch with a local wildlife rehabilitator, to whom she rushed the
took only a few minutes out of her day to get help for the bird, and she saved
him from suffering for days or even weeks from his injuries and possibly
starving, being killed by a predator, or being hit by a car.
actions serve as a reminder to all of us that we are never "too busy"
to help an animal who is in need.
Bananas? We don't need no stinkin'
bananas. At least Kanzi
the bonobo doesn't. He taught himself how to make fire and
have their own emergency broadcast system. They use special sounds to warn
their unaware friends about danger, but they don't send out a warning when the
other chimpanzees already see it. This turns the belief that only humans
recognize that others are not informed on its head.
Shiny Things | cc by 2.0
pigeons are once again showing
why "birdbrain" is a compliment. The birds are proving that they can
count by putting groups of items in order by quantity.
We all read City Mouse, Country Mouse,
but what about city bird, country bird? When flirting, urban birds
adjust their voices to be heard over the din of the city, so they sing
differently from their country cousins.
and cows certainly
aren't cousins, but they can become best friends. When a cow named Wanda
escaped from a farm, she eluded capture for five months, living with a herd of
deer who would stomp on the ground to let Wanda know that their acute senses
detected people approaching. Wanda now has a home on a farm and is not in
danger of being slaughtered.
Of course, for a best friend whose
loyalty is unmatched, one need look no further than a dog. A Russian dog
stood guard over the body of his deceased canine companion for two weeks in
temperatures of negative-58 degrees Fahrenheit. Animal advocates caught him and
took him to a local animal shelter, where he will stay while they search for a
For more amazing animal stories, check
out an article on the new
book Animal Tool Behavior.
Written by PETA
scientists in Dallas may have come up with an invisibility cloak, but octopuses and squid beat them to the punch.
Masters of disguise, among the tricks up their tentacle sleeves is this one: They
manipulate sacs of black pigment on their skin to either shroud them in
darkness to match the water or reveal their transparent flesh so that light
shines through, making others think that they aren't there.
Millipedes are covert operators
too. Certain species toss moss or other plants over their backs while they
biological anthropologist is confirming what many cat people already know—cats grieve over the loss of
a loved one much like humans do. And much like humans, letting animals see (and,
in a cat's case, smell) the body of their deceased loved one can help give them
"closure" and come to terms with the loss.
ravi khemka | cc by 2.0
do the leg- (or wing-) work when you can ride? In Stockholm, Sweden, a flock of pigeons has begun taking the
subway for its daily trips to a crowded shopping center where the animals like
to forage for food. Pigeons have been doing the same thing on the London
Underground for years!
dog takes care of business. After a southwest Ohio couple adopted a dog from an animal shelter, it took only six hours
for him to return the favor. The aptly named Hercules chased a burglar from the
couple's basement, biting him on the ankle for good measure.
of canine good deeds—Titan, a beloved dog from Lawrenceville,
Georgia, became the first canine recipient of the Neighbor of the Year Award after
he got help for his guardian when she suffered from a brain aneurysm and fell,
fracturing her skull.
Our colleagues at Global Action in the Interest of Animals (GAIA) in Belgium have fought long and hard to protect Brussels' beleaguered pigeons, who have enriched the city's parks and public spaces and have charmed countless tourists and residents.
In an effort to reduce the pigeon population, city officials are capturing birds and sterilizing them surgically without proper anesthetics, something that numerous vets and avian specialists have condemned as extremely cruel. The birds being subjected to this painful procedure are already frightened and disoriented from being captured and separated from their mates and families.
GAIA's appeals to provide the birds with relief have been ignored.
Please e-mail Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans and Alderman for City Planning and Mobility Christian Ceux to tell them that you expect them to treat pigeons with the care and respect they deserve.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Groovin' on a Wednesday morning—these affectionate animals make this summer feel like the summer of love.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Adult film star Raul Armenteros and another man have each been charged with 22 counts of cruelty to animals after police allegedly discovered a menagerie of animals—including roosters, guinea hens, pigeons, goats, and a duck—baking inside their locked van in the scorching Miami heat. Reportedly, the goats were all tied up inside plastic bags, and one was already dead when police arrived.
It isn't clear what Armenteros intended to do with the animals. What is clear is that he should never have left them to suffer inside a hot vehicle, as is alleged. On a mild day, the temperature inside a car parked in the shade with the windows cracked can reach 100 to 120 degrees in a few minutes. Animals left in these conditions can suffer and die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes.
If you see an animal inside a hot car, have the owner paged and call the police. If the animal's life appears to be in immediate danger, free the animal and wait for authorities. For more information on rescuing animals left inside vehicles, see PETA's tip sheet.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Mike Tyson would have viewers of his new show, Taking On Tyson, believe that pigeon racers don't think of the birds as "inventory." But a long-time wildlife rehabilitator who has seen the victims firsthand begs to differ.
In an e-mail to PETA, she told us about rehabilitating a thin and injured pigeon who, judging from his wounds, appeared to have barely escaped a hawk. Because the bird was wearing a band, she was able to track down the bird's owner, who told her to put the bird in a tube and ship him back. Of course, she refused to do so. Another racer she contacted about a banded bird told her to just "wring its neck" and that the birds are "a dime a dozen."
PETA recently demonstrated outside Tyson's Las Vegas home to let people know that pigeons do suffer when forced to fly hundreds of miles in all weather extremes.
Many don't make it home. The American Racing Pigeon Union disclosed that at a 2010 race in Oklahoma City, more than 800 pigeons—60 percent of the total number entered—did not return from training flights or the race itself.
Please tell Animal Planet that animals should not have to pay with their lives for someone's hobby.
PETA members gathered outside Mike Tyson's home in Las Vegas yesterday to protest the former heavyweight boxing champ's new TV series on Animal Planet, Taking On Tyson, which showcases Tyson's interest in pigeon racing.
Tyson, who once claimed that his former "pet" tigers "liked" being punched in the testicles and face, has now added pigeon abuse to his résumé. Racing pigeons are forced to fly hundreds of miles in all weather extremes as they attempt to get home. The pigeons are vulnerable to both natural predators such as hawks and cruel humans who view them as "pests." In a recent ESPN interview, Tyson said, "I try not to get too attached. That's why I keep breeder pigeons—if a bird gets sick or dies, I can produce another one."
Pigeons raised in rooftop coops have few real-world survival skills. PETA caseworkers have fielded frantic calls from people who have found exhausted, injured, or starving birds. A pigeon-racing industry veterinarian admitted that most lost birds starve to death.
Wagers are often placed on the outcome of races, which not only violates many state gambling laws but also means a grim fate for "losers." Owners have little use for pigeons who can't or don't win, and they unapologetically kill slower birds by wringing their necks, gassing or drowning them, or selling the birds to live poultry markets.
Please let Animal Planet know that you won't be tuning in to Taking On Tyson.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.