Re: “Filmmaker draws on flock of pigeon enthusiasts” (TNT, 1-17).
Pigeon racing is far from an innocuous pastime.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) conducted a 15-month undercover investigation into some of the largest pigeon-racing operations in the U.S. PETA’s investigators documented massive casualties of birds during races and training, rampant “culling” (killing), abusive training and racing methods, and illegal interstate gambling.
Since pride and profit are often the compelling factors in pigeon racing, owners have little use for birds that can’t or won’t win. One racer told PETA’s investigators that the “first thing you have to learn” in pigeon racing is “how to kill pigeons.” Another recommended killing these gentle birds by drowning them, pulling their heads off or squeezing their breasts so tightly that they suffocate.
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Pigeons are smart and have complex social relationships. Their hearing and vision are both excellent, but they still flock in large numbers to help protect each other from predators. They are completely innocuous and enrich our mornings with their gentle cooing. They deserve to be left in peace.
(O’Connor is a senior writer for the PETA Foundation.)