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.”
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.
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Please tell Animal Planet that animals should not have to pay with their lives for someone’s hobby.
Written by Jennifer O’Connor