To the Editor: 

Your piece on pigeon racing [“Pigeon racer hopes to bring love of sport back home”] didn’t address how many birds suffer and die in this pastime.  

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 who 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.

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.

Jennifer O’Connor

PETA Foundation

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