Thousands of Birds Will Likely Die in Deadly King’s Cup Pigeon Race

Posted by on June 25, 2015 | Permalink

PETA US is calling for an investigation of Irish pigeon racers for apparent violations of cruelty laws.

Pigeon racing 2 birds in cage

On 3 July, thousands of birds will be forced to fly hundreds of miles across the English Channel and the Irish Sea, through all extremes of weather, in a desperate attempt to return home. Most of them probably won’t make it and will die during the journey. They will drown, collide with electric lines, be caught by predators or simply die from exhaustion.

This is the King’s Cup pigeon race, a high-stakes international event at which Irish pigeon racers are scheduled to release birds from Saint-Allouestre, France, to return to Ireland.

In last year’s race, only 40 of 2,807 birds who were entered in the event returned within three days. This disastrous outcome has prompted PETA US to ask Irish authorities to restrict this year’s race. An urgent letter sent this morning calls on the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Welfare Officer for the Northern Area to investigate pigeon racers and pigeon-racing clubs in Ireland and Northern Ireland, respectively, for apparent violations of animal-welfare laws.

In the letter, PETA US points out that the Irish Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 prohibit inflicting unnecessary suffering on an animal, and the Wildlife Act prohibits injuring protected wild birds, including pigeons.

Animals shouldn’t be forced to risk life and limb for “entertainment”. Please, never attend or bet on a pigeon race and help pigeons in the UK by sending a message to Defra asking it to crack down on cruelty in cross-channel races.