Against pigeon racing

Prominent lawyer Michael Mansfield QC argued a PETA campaign against pigeon racing.

Less than a quarter of pigeons that enter originally South Africa’s Million Dollar Pigeon Race (SAMDPR) complete series, according to animal charity.

This year only 44 of the 373 pigeons sent to South Africa for racing by British amateurs survived.


If the pigeons used for racing are ‘winners’, they are locked up for life for breeding – like what pigeon racers call ‘prisoners’. If they are malfunctioning, their neck is broken.

Mr Mansfield said: “Any compassionate person would be disgusted by the conclusions of PETA’s new briefing, including the revelation that all eight birds sent by the queen this year perished in quarantine ahead of this death race.

“The organizers see the pigeons not as sentient and sentient beings that they are, but as mere commodities to be exploited for financial gain. If a race involving humans had only a 22% survival rate, it would no doubt be closed, yet these loyal and intelligent birds are sent to their deaths year after year.

“Pigeon racing is like the barbarism of cockfighting and bear baiting and should be banned. to do.”


During the SAMDPR quarantine period, stressed birds from all over the world are grouped together in the same loft, with the potential to transmit disease to each other, including zoonoses.

Those who do not die during this period are forced into long training sessions under the blazing South African sun. Many become disoriented and die of exhaustion, predation, dehydration or starvation.

The investigation documented severe cruelty to animals, the occasional slaughter of pigeons deemed unfit and high death rates, as well as the recording of confessions by amateurs of apparent financial crimes, including illegal gambling, l tax evasion and money laundering, as well as the violation of environmental standards. laws.

Pigeons have their own culture, mate for life, and are dedicated parents, both making harvest milk for their babies.

They also pass the “mirror test,” demonstrating self-awareness and intelligence, and have won more Dickin medals – the Victoria Cross of animals – than any other animal for saving the lives of civilians and members of the armed forces during World War II and subsequent conflicts.

This article

Brendan Montague is editor-in-chief of The ecologist. This article is based on the PETA press release.

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