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    Calls for Crack down on pigeon racing

    NewsBirdsWednesday 03 April 2013
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    An animal rights group is calling for a crack down to pigeon racing and even contacting the Queen for help.

    PETA has noticed that people are pushing the boundaries of pigeon racing further and further by forcing the birds to go faster and faster through manipulative tricks.

    Those who do not make the cut are often slaughtered in favour of those who do. It is said that of the pigeons that race, up to 75% never make it back home. Ones that do make it home are so exhausted and injured that they are often discarded by their owners.

    The most popular (and dangerous) race is one across the English channel where pigeons race from France to England known as “The Graveyard”.

    Peta, the animal rights group want this practise banned and list it under the same category as bear baiting and dog fighting.

    They are calling on the Queen who herself has a loft at her Sandringham estate with 250 pigeons that are primarily used for racing. They believe that the Queen has lost hundreds of pigeons over the years and want her to withdraw from the Royal Pigeon Racing Association.

    PETA’s investigation lasted 2 months and begins in France. The “Grave Yard  begins in a small town called Fougères.

    People often have a stereotypical view of pigeon racers being old people looking after their birds in a small dark shed however some racers are taking advantage of the pigeons and being manipulative by for example placing plastic eggs under them.

    Owners hope that when racing the pigeons will therefore go faster to be there to care for their “young”. Another tactic is separating life long pigeons so that when they race they are desperate to get back to their partners. These cruel tricks and many more are all used to make pigeons race faster. Often there is monetary gain to be had too as millions of pounds a year is being wagered illegally on the sport.

    The channel crossing race has got its name “the graveyard” by being a very dangerous stretch. There is often unpredictable weather and furthermore pigeons often have nowhere to land except possibly the lucky chance of a passing ferry. If they fly to close to the water then they can be washed under. Sometimes races begin further down than France and said to have started in Barcelona. This means that a pigeon has to go across two countries to then finish with an near impossible straight of water with limited resting points.

    Stewart Wardrop, who is the general manger of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association disputes that up to 75% of pigeons never make it back to land. Also he argues that with 40,000 racers there are always likely to be a few bad racers who will use negative techniques. In conclusion he argues that why would people spend so much time caring and preparing pigeons if they will not make it back. 

     

     

    Source: Telegraph

    Photo: Wikimedia

     
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