By Jenny Moxham, December 2011
Surely nobody could seriously be considering replacing antibiotics in the
poultry industry with pigeon milk. (Pigeon milk study coup, 26/10)
Given that the industry raises 499 million chickens per year, how many
pigeon mums would it take to produce sufficient milk to replace antibiotics?
And since pigeons are so small and only produce milk for 10 days it would
surely require a heck of a lot of pigeon mums to meet the needs of the
In chicken farms antibiotics are not only used to treat sick birds, they're also used to promote faster growth and prevent disease in healthy ones. This is because when large numbers of birds are tightly confined in small areas they're highly susceptible to disease outbreaks.
Apart from the seemingly crazy aspect of this idea, it would, if it came
about, subject yet one more poor creature to man's cruel exploitation.
If this came to pass would we then have intensive pigeon farms, where
birds were confined in cramped cages and their "useless" baby chicks
disposed of in mincing machines or gassed - as is the case with the male
chicks hatched by the egg industry?
I presume the birds would need to have chicks in order to produce milk.
Or would they be genetically engineered to make them produce milk
And how would they be milked? Given that the milk comes from their crop, would their throats be squeezed daily to bring up the milk?
Is any animal in this world safe from man's conniving ways!
In Asia, bears are exploited for another liquid - bile - which is used in
Confined in coffin like cages which vary in size from agonizingly tiny
"crush" cages to slightly larger pens, the bile is extracted each day by
means of a metal tube poked through a hole in the bears abdomen.
The distressed and suffering bears bang their heads against the cage,
gnaw on the bars, and chew their paws in a futile attempt to distract them
from the main source of pain.
It is estimated that in China alone around 10,000 bears are kept like
In the US and Canada horses are cruelly exploited to obtain a different
type of liquid - urine.
In order to make a drug called Premarin ( short for pregnant mares' urine) the estrogen-rich urine from pregnant mares is harvested from approximately 50,000 pregnant horses.
For six to seven months at a time the mares are tethered by their necks
and confined in small stalls in which they can't even turn around.
The urine is harvested with rubber pouches fitted over their urethras
which can cause infections and severe leg chafing.
These contraptions also make it difficult, if not impossible, for the horses to lie down or be comfortable.
Instead, they must stand or kneel resting on their chests even while
sleeping - all this while pregnant.
When the mares are too old to bear any more foals they are slaughtered.
Some of their foals are kept to replace them but most are sent to feedlots
to be fattened for slaughter.
There are countless other examples of mans cruel and heartless exploitation of animals so surely it's not necessary to add another creature - the mild mannered pigeon - to the list.