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Tyson: K.O. the Pigeon Show

Written by PETA | March 8, 2011

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.

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

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  • Chuck Thompson says:

    Those of you who are against people who raise pigeons to race or fly competitively like roller pigeons should have your heads examined. Pigeon raisers spend tons of money on feed and living quarters for their pigeons. This is because they love them and care for them. Wild pigeons do not have a life any where near as good as captive pigeons. Captive pigeons get vitamins, the best food and clean water every day. Are protected from predators and sheltered against bad weather. If you want to protest find something to protest about that makes sense and helps America or other countries to become better.

  • pigeonman says:

    I just wanted to add to my previous comments that I think that PETA does some great things, but I just don’t believe that this is one of them and that their energies could be better spent

  • pigeonman says:

    As a pigeon fancier, I can tell most people want to jump on this bandwagon without knowing the facts. These pigeon breeds were bred to do what they do…whether it’s racing breeds, flying breeds or show breeds. Most fanciers pigeons are given the best grains,nutrients, and vitamins-everything needed to be super healthy.They are not feral birds that are captive, but bred for these things. They return home because they are happy there.These are not abused animals folks……to compare them to Vick’s fighting dogs is ludicrous…..people commenting on the hobby and sport don’t understand the love and enjoyment offered, and the peace and tranquility that spending time in your loft can give a person. For the people who say they are ONLY pigeons, let me say that all of our earths creatures should be given fair treatment….but that domestic pigeons are actually beautiful and fairly intelligent animals. I see a lot of ignorant comments on here….learn the facts before you speak.

  • Maureen C LaPerriere says:

    “Iron Mike” was a force to be reckoned with not so long ago. I am a hardcore animal rights activist, but I believe that a human being who has been treated as badly as a fighting pit bull needs to be rehabilitated too. I really think that he will respond to a call for compassion. Thank God PETA is there to voice this call. And as Ocean17 suggests, he HAS taken the first step. Please keep it up, Mike.

  • Rose says:

    I have been a pigeon fancier for many years. I really think that PETA needs to do some much needed research. I love animals and I think that Mike Tyson and all the pigeon owners, pigeon club members, and those participating in the program Taking On Tyson are all top notch. The lofts are immaculate, the birds are in fantastic condition, enough waterers for the numbers of birds and it is quite evident that the birds are being fed and fed well. The birds are healthy, gorgeous. Anyone who has any knowledge on homing pigeons will know that they do not stay in the lofts all day long. They are flown daily. The birds are not being mistreated, taken from their families like some have written. Go to any loft, open the flight door and if you have a pair sitting on eggs, the parent that is not sitting on the eggs is going to go out that flight door and not return until it is their turn to sit on the eggs. Pigeons love to fly. There is absolutely no mistreatment of those birds letting them fly. They would do it on their own and not think anything about their mates until it was time for them to come back to the loft to sit on the eggs or come back to the loft for feeding time. PETA, please do some research. I know that pigeon fanciers love their birds. Go to any loft of the folks on that program and my guess is that you are going to see a clean loft, well fed birds, excellent conditions. Many of the birds raised by those who love pigeons live to be very old. Would PETA prefer that pigeons live on the streets and eat garbage? As I said please do some research about homing pigeons. If you are worried about pigeons go check out some of the hunting clubs for example in PA who buy up pigeons and use them for a shooting match. Surely PETA knows about this but because some celebrity is not involved we are not going to be reading about that abuse of pigeons.

  • pigeon flayer says:

    i flay pigeons all my life .you people have no idea what you are talking about,i take care of my birds better than you take care of your children,and another thing,these birds love to fly,and pigeon flyers take careof them well. You better be worried about someone abusing animals, not about some people who really worry about them like I do.

  • paulyyy says:

    Mike Tyson is a pathertic loser. Just because his boxing career ended in defeats by ko does not mean he has to take it out on this beautiful birds; he obviously has no intelligence and compassion what so ever.

  • Brad says:

    Pigeons are God’s children too! Perhaps Mike Tyson has been getting his brains beaten out for so long that his feelings have gone with them! Or maybe he never had any feelings! I won’t be watching that stupid show!

  • Maria says:

    Some people just have a perverted taste for violence and would not even spear birds! What is in those people’s brains?

  • LaurieH says:

    When I tuned in and saw a little of this program, I felt very upset about these birds. I don’t believe that animals should be used or abused and that includes being used for so called “Entertainment.” Thank HEAVEN for you, PETA! THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE TO FIGHT FOR ALL ANIMALS!~

  • Ibe says:

    Although I’m not entirely opposed to the idea of racing them, I am appalled with how they are killed if they are too slow. Why not just set them free? Also, if he thinks that his tigers enjoy being punched in their testicles and face, I REALLY do hope that these tigers return the favor some day. Mike, I hope they bite your balls off!!!

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