OKC breeder defends pigeon racing after PETA investigation
The pigeon racing hobby gets a bad rap after two PETA investigations, one of which resulted in charges of illegal gambling.
Richard Mardis will be tried in September on charges of illegal gambling linked to pigeon races held four years ago. The charges came after a PETA investigation years ago.
“We didn’t come to the plea deal because we’re not going to say we did something wrong when we didn’t,” said Steve Mardis, Richard’s son and owner. of the Continental Breeding Station based at OKC.
The pigeons will instinctively try to return home if they are released several hundred kilometers away. This is how they are run. A special chip that tracks the speed of the pigeon is placed around the ankle of the bird. The bird’s average speed is around 45 miles per hour.
PETA says it just ended with another lengthy investigation into illegal pigeon racing and gambling in Taiwan. He concluded that sometimes 90% of birds run to Taiwan die because of the long bodies of water.
The PETA report states that pigeons from the Continental Breeding Station were sold overseas for breeding.
“We believe these races are incredibly cruel and deadly and should be stopped,” PETA attorney Jared Goodman said.
Mardis says shopping here in Oklahoma is not cruel and very safe. He says only a few pigeons might not survive the eight week long season, as they are being targeted in the sky by a hawk.