Mike Tyson would have viewers of his new show, Taking On Tyson, believe that pigeon racers don't think of the birds as "inventory." But a long-time wildlife rehabilitator who has seen the victims firsthand begs to differ.
In an e-mail to PETA, she told us about rehabilitating a thin and injured pigeon who, judging from his wounds, appeared to have barely escaped a hawk. Because the bird was wearing a band, she was able to track down the bird's owner, who told her to put the bird in a tube and ship him back. Of course, she refused to do so. Another racer she contacted about a banded bird told her to just "wring its neck" and that the birds are "a dime a dozen."
Many don't make it home. The American Racing Pigeon Union disclosed that at a 2010 race in Oklahoma City, more than 800 pigeons—60 percent of the total number entered—did not return from training flights or the race itself. Only 462 of the 1,354 pigeons originally entered returned.
Please tell Animal Planet that animals should not have to pay with their live for someone's hobby.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor