An Entertainment Abuses Articles from All-Creatures.org




Why the *[email protected]# Do They Call it A Sport? The Horrors of Pigeon Racing

From Heather Hohlowski, Guest Post on Palomacy: It's Pigeon Diplomacy
June 2022

In June 2021, roughly 25,000 homing pigeons (out of 250,000 who raced in 50 events throughout England) disappeared (i.e., suffered horrible, painful deaths). Like greyhound racing, horse racing and the like, a select group of human beings enjoy training other species to run or fly ridiculous distances at top speed as a “sport” that they can enjoy. The animals are toys for them.

Pigeon Pidgy
Pidgy

The so-called “sport” of pigeon racing began more than 200 years ago, in Belgium. The racing breed of pigeons is selectively crossbred and trained, with the goal being a bird that gets back to its often very-far-away destination as fast as possible.

Like greyhound racing, horse racing and the like, a select group of human beings enjoy training other species to run or fly ridiculous distances at top speed as a “sport” that they can enjoy. The animals are toys for them. By any rational definition, a sport is one that the participants consent to. But these pigeons, like the greyhounds and horses, have never agreed to participate in these races; they are forced to.

And here are some statistics from these races. In June 2021, roughly 25,000 homing pigeons (out of 250,000 who raced in 50 events throughout England) disappeared (i.e., suffered horrible, painful deaths). Instead of blaming themselves for selectively breeding birds that cannot survive the elements or being lost, breeders blamed these staggering losses of life on the weather: a meteorological event that may have altered the Earth’s magnetic field.1 They then went on to just breed lots more birds for their next race.

Pigeon Pidgy
Pidgy

The so-called “Olympics of pigeon racing” is the annual South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race (SAMDPR). The non-consenting contestants often die — some from viruses caught while held in quarantine in South Africa with other pigeons from all over the world, others from exhaustion, predator attacks, dehydration, and starvation. On average, according to an investigation by PETA in 2020, the survival rate for SAMDPR racers is 22%; more than three-fourths of the birds die.2 When PETA launched a petition to convince Queen Elizabeth II to end royal participation in the “sport”, an organizer of the event said: “The pigeons have no jockey on their back to force them to fly. They do this of their own free will and love of the loft.”

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