Written by Jeff Mackey
investigation into the cruel pigeon-racing
racket spanned many states and revealed rampant illegal gambling, in violation of
state and federal laws—including the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and felony gambling and tax laws—with stakes of $200,000 or more per race. One
of those states was Oklahoma, and as a result of the criminal investigation that followed, the Oklahoma City district attorney has charged three race organizers—including the executive director of the American Racing Pigeon Union—with felony
commercial gambling and conspiracy to violate the state's anti–commercial gambling act.
Until PETA's investigation broke, the shadier aspects of
pigeon racing had attracted little attention, but it's a blood sport that deserves to be as condemned as cockfighting or dogsled racing. In a
typical race, 60 percent of the birds will never make it back to their lofts and
mates because of extreme weather, predators, electric lines, foul play, and
Out of more than 1,500 baby pigeons shipped to Oklahoma City
for just one event attended by the investigators, the 2010 American Racing
Pigeon Union race, a little more than 1,000 birds survived training. Of those
thousand birds entered into the final race, a mere 420
made it back from Arkansas by nightfall—and many of those who returned still
likely had their necks wrung if they failed to finish "in the money."
As one pigeon racer told investigators, when starting out in pigeon racing,
"The first thing you have to learn—how to kill pigeons."
There's nothing sporting about forcing animals to risk—and
often lose—their lives so that someone can win a prize, a title, or some money.
Please never attend or support these sadistic blood sports, and if you witness
cruelty, never be silent.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.