Virginia Hospital That Lied About Pigeon Poisoning Comes Clean

January 2001

A year ago, PETA began receiving complaints about the use of Avitrol to poison pigeons and other birds at Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. After we provided the director of engineering with information on humane alternatives, he said that the hospital would stop poisoning pigeons and implement an effective, long-term pigeon control program.

We then received a call from residents in the hospital’s neighborhood about a pigeon writhing in pain on their front lawn. When a rescue team arrived at the scene, they found the pigeon shaking uncontrollably from seizures and gasping for air, clearly symptoms of Avitrol poisoning. A few days later, PETA began receiving complaints from Maryview patients and staff about the use of poison to kill pigeons. We contacted the hospital’s executive vice director and asked him to respond to our complaint. He called to say that the hospital had stopped poisoning the pigeons.

Then, in October, we again began to receive complaints about dead and dying pigeons near Maryview. This time, we contacted reporters at a local television station and asked them to investigate. The station ran a piece on our frustrated efforts to stop the poisoning of pigeons at the hospital. As a result, Maryview Medical Center has finally pledged to stop poisoning pigeons once and for all.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind