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PETA Takes on ‘Taking on Tyson’

Written by PETA | March 19, 2010
© Star Max Inc.
Mike Tyson

“Ready …
Set …
Um, never mind …”

It seems quite possible that Animal Planet’s upcoming reality series starring Mike Tyson might be knocked out of production. (Join us in our sorrow—not.) PETA has identified what might be a fatal flaw in the very premise of Taking on Tyson, which is scheduled to begin filming in Brooklyn next month. See, while pigeon racing is cruel to birds no matter where it takes place, in New York state it’s also very likely illegal.

Our letter to Charles J. Hynes, Kings County district attorney, points out that gambling is generally prohibited in New York state—as are races using animals other than horses in which any bet, stake, or reward is involved. Translation: When it comes to racing pigeons in Brooklyn, all bets are off possibly illegal. What’s more, trainers are prohibited from making money off such races, and this rule might very well apply to any compensation that Tyson is receiving from Animal Planet.

Considering its inherent cruelties, there’s no question that pigeon racing should be illegal. Birds who are forced to race often struggle to survive extreme heat, hail, and thunderstorms, dodging both predators and cruel humans through grueling races that can be as long as 500 miles. Those who somehow do not succumb to exhaustion or injury and make their way home may still have their necks wrung by unsatisfied trainers.

Take a minute to write Animal Planet and politely let the network know that while you love shows like Whale Wars and Animal Cops—programs in which people go to bat for animals—a program in which people bet on cruelty is a bad hand for everyone.

Written by Shawna Flavell

Commenting is closed.
  • Mark Malinowski says:

    Mike Tyson is a reformed man and he has proven it and overcome his past problems. Look, he even likes tenins…

  • Naturalone says:

    I would love to see how all the lives would be if it were on camera constantly. This man has had a drug habit, numerous lawsuits and some more stuff. They dont talk about contradicting Holyfield how recently beat his wife for paying the heat bill instead of giving money to their church, Just Mike. Peta get a Grip, the Pigieons are not hurt.

  • Dana says:

    Interesting that everyone is in a uproar because it is cruel to animals. I am in an uproar because he is mean to other people. He beat his ex wife, tried to bite off an opponents ear, and then offered to eat another opponents babies…… I mean, really…. why is his overall craziness being ignored?

  • Stef says:

    You people are all nuts and should study up about pigeon racing. Most owners treat there birds like Kings and look after them better than they look after themselves. More kids should be racing pigeons and it will give them resonsability and keep them off the street.

  • Wade says:

    Hey great article !!

  • Thomas Bishop says:

    I don’t think that you people understand what pigeon racing really is and have made snappy judgments on groundless comments and accusations. First of all these pigeons are not regular pigeons they have been bred for thousands of years with selection for the fastest most determined bird. A bird that doesn’t enjoy racing would never be able to compete with the rest of the birds and therefore wouldn’t have been bred from. The remaining birds which were bred from have left us with the spectacular athletes we see today. They are as good as they are because they enjoy it. It would be cruel not to let these birds race as this is what they live for. As for killing birds that don’t perform this is done by only a minority but the sport shouldn’t be condemned by the actions of a few. In all my years of racing pigeons I have never killed a bird for its performance in a race the only birds that I have put down are the ones that were ill beyond treatment. I think that this show is going to be a great asset to animal planet and despite the few that are using blackmail and threatening to stop watching your shows you should gain many viewers pigeon racers Mike Tyson fans and curious public.

  • Patrick says:

    Tyson adores pigeons! Tyson’s first fistfight started because a bully killed Tyson’s pet pigeon “Julius.” I think the show sounds cool and I’m looking forward to seeing it.

  • alexa says:

    i would love to see some new episodes of animal cops miami texas arizona etc…those shows are alot betterwell atleast knowing that there taking one animal out of a bad situation at a time and knowing that a day later they may not of had that chance plus having an animal abused for one tv show when you could have another saved from a different one…makes my choice pretty simple!

  • Warren Smith says:

    Sorry I disagree with the premise that there is gambling on the events that Mike Tyson is to be involved with. I also disagree with your view that racing pigeons is a cruel activity. I am sure my pigeons are better treated then many children in the USA and certainly better treated then many cats and dogs.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Why would any production company consider airing a program featuring Mike Tyson doing anything? Considering how he acts when he is losing a boxing match remember Evander Holyfield’s ear? I have horrible mental pictures of what might happen to any pigeon of his that loses a race. If Animal Planet airs this show do not watch it. Watch “Life” on the Discovery channel instead.

  • daphne says:

    No offense but alot of you don’t think. Animal Planet has been airing shows that are not in the best interest of animals for years. I stopped watching the station years ago because they air Eukanuba commercials and dog shows a Proctor and Gamble subsidiary and because they aired shows on animals in show business. When I watched someone discuss how much she loved her chimpanzees but didn’t discuss what happens to the chimps when they hit puberty sold to labs often I turned off the channel and haven’t been back. This is all old news to me.

  • Reg Clark says:

    Please do not air Mike Tyson’s show in which he races pigeons. It is cruel. Thank you for your consideration.

  • Franziska Brugger says:

    There are so many ways to enjoy watching animals that don’t involve an inhumane treatment of the animal. Please consider those and abandon races!

  • Michele A. says:

    I can usually count on Animal Planet to air shows that respect animals and that are meant to send the message of how important it is to respect animals. The fact that they would take part in a program such as this is very disappointing. Whether it may be popular with some what kind of audience are you trying to attract? YOur current audience appreciates the informative programs you do show and I guarantee they will not appreciate this one. I assure you I will be totally turned off literally to the Animal Planet network if this happens.

  • Valerie says:

    I just sent in my letter to Animal Planet. It never ceases to amaze me what kind of exploitation people put animals through just to make a buck. If people would only put themselves in the places of the animals for just one day so many changes would be made. Every person who inflicts these horrors on animals should have to live through those horrors themselves so they could see just what they are doing and learn the error of their ways.

  • kristin Parshall says:

    Please do not proceed with the idea of this Mike Tyson show. Shouldn’t Animal Planet’s programs reflect appreciation for all animals. Using animals for sport is not humane.

  • Walt Begnaud says:

    Please reconsider putting “Taking On Tyson” on the air. This program will send a negative message to people who are concerned about animal cruelty. Pigeon racing is cruel and inhumane. Having a celebrity involved with it in any capacity is in my opinion is just plain wrong. The proper treatment of animals is everyone’s responsibility. Please do not prosper from the suffering of animals. Thank You.

  • Alissa Schroeder says:

    I am very disapointed that a network that provides shows about animals to educate people on how they should be protected and preserved is now paying someone to promote animal cruelty. Locking an animal in a cage and using them for human personal gain like with money or prestige is wrong these birds should be free especially if you have such great love for them as Tyson claims to have. I used to watch this channel with my children but if they continue on with this show we will no longer watch.

  • daniel guerra says:

    Please remember your values extend from the core of your concept up to the production process. What makes you great and durable in time is not your rating but you definition of unique beautiful tv shows for lovers of all beings

  • suzanne sowder says:

    Hello I am a fellow animal lover and love shows where humans have gone up to bad for the creatures that we have been placed here to take care of Whale Wars Animal Cops etc. However should Mike Tyson’s show be aired on Animal Planet I will boycott your network and petition for my entire apartment complex to drop your network from our cable provider as well. Not to mention my friends and family. I am sorry but I just cannot support a network that allows Tysonwho participates in pigeon racing to be aired on your “animal friendly” network. I do hope that you take into consideration the message that you would be sending out Have a wonderful day. Sincerely Suzanne Sowder Licensed Esthetician 4173439931

  • alex gerry says:

    Nobody intelligent compationate people at least wants cruelty be it inflicted on humans or animals. This has got to be stopped.

  • Elizabeth Casper says:

    I hope that you reconsider putting Mike Tyson’s show on the air the show will send a very negative message to young people and people who are on the line about animal cruelty. Pigeon racing is inhumane and having a celeb like Tyson just talking about it having knowledge about it and not condemning it would be like giving Michael Vick a show on dog training. Keep the celebs out of it your shows are good the way they are factual with real people. You don’t need Hollywood to come in and dirty up your image.