King’s Pigeons Now With PETA – Birds Spared Cross-Channel Ordeals, Rehomed at Sanctuary

King’s Pigeons Now With PETA – Birds Spared Cross-Channel Ordeals, Rehomed at Sanctuary

London / Aberaeron, West Wales – PETA has rescued three pigeons who had been kept in the king’s loft at Sandringham and then auctioned off as part of the British Homing World Show of the Year 2024. PETA won the bid to spare the birds further suffering in the racing industry, where they would have been used as breeding machines and their offspring forced to race – taken overseas and left to struggle against storms, exhaustion, disorientation, starvation, predation, and collisions with power lines as they try to find their way home.

Today, PETA sent a letter to King Charles informing him that the three pigeons – two cocks and a hen – are being given the “royal treatment” after being rehomed at the Little Green Pigeon sanctuary in West Wales and urging him to help the birds still at the royal loft by ending his association with the archaic and often fatal pastime that birds are forced to partake in and turning the loft into a haven where the birds can retire.

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“Pigeons are kind and loyal animals who are so intelligent that they were once entrusted by our military to deliver vital messages, yet cruel people are flying them to their deaths for entertainment,” says PETA Senior Campaigns Manager Kate Werner. “PETA urges King Charles to cut ties with the cruel pigeon racing industry and turn his loft into a sanctuary for these magnificent birds.”

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.

The royal loft on the Sandringham Estate keeps nearly 250 pigeons, the majority of whom are used for the deadly racing industry. A PETA US investigation found that every one of the eight birds sent by Queen Elizabeth II to participate in the 2020 South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race died during the quarantine period, when stressed birds from all around the world were grouped together in the same loft with the potential to transmit diseases to one another.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, or Instagram.


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]