Written by PETA
While rushing to an early-morning tennis game, I spotted a pigeon in the middle of the sidewalk. I've lived in New York for years and rescued lots of birds in trouble, so I knew that this pigeon needed help because as I approached him, he stayed put. I was easily able to scoop him up. I always keep a "ready kit"—a carrier filled with supplies—in my apartment, so I used it to rush this poor bird to the wonderful folks at the Wild Bird Fund. They found that he was suffering without hope, so they gave him a painless release from the virus that was ravaging his body.
Please never walk by an injured or sick animal or assume that someone else will come to the rescue. Often, no one does. Be prepared for your own wildlife emergency, and become an angel for animals! No errand, deadline, appointment, tennis game—not even a job interview—is as important as helping an animal in trouble.
If you find a sick or injured animal and are unsure what to do, please call PETA immediately. Caseworkers are on call 24 hours day, and they are here to help.
Written by Jannette Patterson
That's right. Yesterday, heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson revealed to audience members during a taping of CenterStage that he's gone vegan. (The interview is scheduled to air on May 26.) I'm sure they were all ears and eager to learn why the aspiring reality show star/pigeon exploiter has embraced the diet of choice for those who care about themselves, animals, and the planet.
Did he learn that a vegan diet does a body good great by keeping it trim, strong, and healthy? Was he swayed by details on how diseased animals suffer in extremely crowded, filthy crates and cages on factory farms before they are forced to make harrowing trips to the slaughterhouse? Perhaps he refuses to contribute to environmental disasters that are linked to the meat and dairy industries.
Whatever the reason(s), we applaud Mike Tyson's decision to leave animals off his plate—and we will continue our efforts to ensure that he stops promoting pigeon abuse. Coould you please help too?
Written by Karin Bennett
In an effort to rebuild his image, Mike Tyson has a new Animal Planet series in the works, tentatively titled Taking on Tyson and slated to premiere in 2011. The former heavyweight fighter will use the program to showcase his passion for pigeons via his exploits in the pigeon-racing industry.
While we would never knock someone's love for these intelligent birds, Tyson's claim to care about pigeons is rather incredulous given that he chooses to tout using them in a "sport" that—like horseracing—exposes them to danger and death. In a typical race, the birds are taken great distances—sometimes as many as 500 miles—away from their homes and then released to see if they can find their way back. It can only be a traumatic experience, as evidenced by the fallen pigeons who succumb to storms, shotgun pellets, and collisions with high-tension wires and who are often found starving, exhausted, and a long way from home. Pigeons mate for life, and the likelihood that both partners will find each other again or that the bird who is released will be reunited with the one left in the coop is a crapshoot. For those banded birds who are found by concerned citizens or turned in to humane societies and have their bands traced, the voice on the other end of the phone is likely to say what we have been told directly, i.e., "Wring their necks, that's what we do with losers."
Mike Tyson likes to tell the story of the first time that he beat someone up, saying it was over someone wanting to hurt one of "his" pigeons. Well, in pigeon racing, he'll meet a lot of people he can beat up if that's the criteria, but if he really wants to rehabilitate his image, then the seedy underbelly of the pigeon-racing world isn't the ideal stage for him. If you'd like to contact Animal Planet to state your opinion on whether this show should air or if the network should stick to Whale Wars and Animal Cops, please send a polite message to Discovery Communications' viewer relations department.
Written by Logan Scherer
Nine-spined stickleback, genius of the sea, allow me to introduce the rocket scientist of the air: the pigeon.
Scientists have discovered that pigeons are better than humans at solving statistical problems such as the Monty Hall Problem (named after the original host of the game show Let's Make a Deal). In the problem, a person, or in this case a bird, is given three doors to choose from. One of the doors has a prize behind it, and the other two do not. After the player makes a guess, one of the remaining doors that does not contain the prize is opened and the player is given the option of staying with the initial guess or switching to the other unopened door. Studies show that humans typically fail to collect any supporting data and stick with their original guess ("classical probability"), while pigeons double their chances of winning by switching choices. It turns out that these smart birds learn to make predictions by tracking outcomes and narrowing the possibilities ("empirical probability").
I consider this to be yet another example of why I'd be honored, not insulted, if anyone ever called me a "birdbrain."
In cities all over the world, humans share sidewalks, windowsills, awnings, and patches of grass with pigeons. And while some people, businesses, and government officials aren't always nice to these amiable urbanites, pigeons have many defenders.
The New York Bird Club and pigeon fans are gearing up for the National Pigeon Day celebration on Saturday, June 13—and they want New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. to make an official proclamation.
A few quick facts: Pigeons are courageous and intelligent birds who mate for life, and both parents tend to their young. They are hardy birds—adept at dodging pedestrians, taxis, and the occasional hawk. No wonder so many humans are content to sit back and watch them during their lunch hours.
Please ask Mayor Bloomberg to officially declare this upcoming June 13 "National Pigeon Day." And if you'll be celebrating at Pilgrim Hill in NYC's Central Park,look for me. I'll be wearing my Pige Patrol T-shirt.
People often hear about PETA's "big" victories for animals—such as how Donna Karan dropped fur from her collections—but that's just the tip of the iceberg. For instance, as a result of pressure from PETA, government officials in Ohio agreed to cancel plans to poison the pigeons who had made their homes near the county courthouse. The original plan was to serve up feeders full of poisoned birdseed to the unsuspecting pigeons. Messed up, right? Good thing we stepped in, because—thanks to our efforts—they'll be researching more humane methods.
The poison would have sent birds into convulsions, made them disoriented, and caused them to suffer for hours before dying. Poison is indiscriminate—any bird could ingest it. And the dead birds' bodies would also have posed a hazard to other animals, including cats, dogs, and birds of prey, who might consume them.
Not only is poisoning pigeons cruel, it doesn't even accomplish the long-term goal of getting rid of the population. Pigeons naturally maintain their numbers depending on the amount of food and space available. If 100 pigeons were poisoned, the surviving pigeons would breed more quickly to replace the dead members of their flock, which means that the population would actually increase over time. Case in point: These same officials had tried poisoning the flock in the past, only to find themselves with even more feathered friends in the long run.
Nonlethal methods of resolving conflicts with pigeons, such as Bird Barrier, are not only kinder but also more effective. Everybody wins!
Written by Lianne Turner
Hold on to your strawberries and (vegan) cream for this one—it seems that Wimbledon has hired sharpshooters to kill pigeons. And what crime did these pigeons commit to merit capital punishment? They pooped. More specifically, they pooped on some tables in an open-air restaurant frequented by media folks who cover Wimbledon matches. Now, I'm no expert in the area of pigeon control, but here's an idea: How about getting a few patio umbrellas? Call me Einstein, but I'd guess that my solution is a whole lot cheaper—in terms of money and lives.
And even if Wimbledon officials don't give a whit about compassion or public opinion, here's something else that they might consider: Their actions seem to be illegal, as in they're likely breaking the law. A U.K. law passed in 2006 prohibits "lethal control" of animals, except as a last resort. PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich had more than a few choice words for Wimbledon, but here are a few that we can print:
Since the use of marksmen to kill pigeons appears to have been carried out as a first, rather than a last resort, and not out of a concern for public health, but rather because the animals were deemed inconvenient by players, you appear to be in clear violation of the law.
As soon as we were tipped off to Bengal Stadium's cruel pigeon-control "solution," PETA sent an urgent letter to Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, asking the city to reject the Bengals' request and consider one of the many humane alternatives available instead. The good news is that the city immediately responded by telling Paul Brown Stadium's manager that he needs to get his finger off the trigger and start actually trying some sensible pigeon-control methods first. We're keeping our eye on the situation, and we’ve offered to help the team with developing some humane solutions to their problem that are actually going to work. I'll let you know how it all goes.
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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.