Dame Vera Lynn Would’ve Been ‘Delighted’ That Rehomed Royal Loft Birds Have Been Named in Her Honour, Says Daughter

13 June 2024

Dame Vera Lynn Would’ve Been ‘Delighted’ That Rehomed Royal Loft Birds Have Been Named in Her Honour, Says Daughter

London – Today, on National Pigeon Day (13 June) and in response to the naming by PETA of three pigeons formerly held at the royal loft who were rescued from the racing industry in honour of her mother, Dame Vera Lynn, Virginia Lewis-Jones says the following:

“My mother was opposed to pigeon racing. She acknowledged, just as I do, how these intelligent birds served honourably in the military, delivering vital messages under the most perilous conditions in both world wars, but saw no excuse for continuing to subject them to such hardship in peacetime. She would no doubt be delighted that the pigeons PETA rescued have been named in her honour – and that their offspring won’t be forced into gruelling cross-Channel races or crudely killed when they are no longer deemed valuable. I wish all pigeons used in this dated pastime a similar retirement.”

Earlier this year, PETA rehomed Vera, Cliff and Dover – named after the singer’s hit The White Cliffs of Dover in homage to the role that the birds played during the Second World War – at a sanctuary in West Wales.

More images of Vera, Cliff, and Dover at their new home are available here.

As PETA entity exposés of pigeon racing have revealed, hundreds of thousands of pigeons face grisly deaths during races in which they’re often forced to fly home to Britain across the English Channel in journeys that are hundreds of miles from the starting point in France, Belgium, or Spain. The casualty rate among those forced to attempt the crossing is so high that many racers refer to the Channel as the “graveyard”. Even those who survive the gauntlet and make it home to their mates, squabs, or eggs (the lures left behind to force them to struggle on) aren’t safe, as pigeons deemed not valuable enough for future races or breeding are killed by breaking their neck, drowning them, or gassing them with unfiltered car exhaust.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – notes that pigeons have earned more Dickin Medals – a Victoria Cross for animals – than any other species for saving the lives of civilians and members of the armed forces during World War II and subsequent conflicts.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk or follow the group on Facebook, X, TikTok, or Instagram.


Lucy Watson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]