‘Sky Puppies’? PETA Launches New P.R. Push for Pigeons

'Pigeon Appreciation Day' Spotlights Intelligent, Faithful, City-Dwelling Birds

For Immediate Release:
June 13, 2019

Contact:
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – If pigeons were called “sky puppies,” would mean people be less likely to diss them? That’s PETA’s hope—so Pigeon Appreciation Day (June 13) marks the launch of its new “Sky Puppies” campaign, a mission to illustrate that the only reason people deride, race, poison, or shoot pigeons or even eat baby ones (squabs) is because of speciesism—the supremacist idea that species who aren’t deemed useful or attractive to humans can therefore be denied respect.

“Just like puppies, pigeons love table scraps, recognize people who are nice to them, and have lived alongside humans for thousands of years,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA hopes that our ‘Sky Puppies’ campaign will encourage people to show pigeons the same respect and kindness that many dogs enjoy.”

Pigeons have their own bird culture, mate for life, are devoted parents, and pass the self-awareness and intelligence “mirror test.” They have saved lives during wartime and have been used to spot sailors lost at sea. Along with humans and rhesus monkeys, they’re one of just three species on Earth known to be able to distinguish between number groups and learn abstract mathematical rules. But they’re shot by the dozens for “sport,” “exterminated” as “pests,” and separated from their beloved mates and chicks and forced to fly vast, perilous distances in deadly races, sometimes over hundreds of miles of ocean.

PETA’s Sky Puppies campaign will include an empathy-building pigeon virtual reality experience for elementary school students and educational demonstrations across the country, complete with a larger-than-life “sky puppy.”

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.” For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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