Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Pigeon Shoots (Wall Street Journal -- News)
(Picture Left: Pigeons atop the Angel of the Waters at Bethesda Fountain. They seem to know who their friends are)
This story should also be in the print edition in today's Wall Street Journal.
To learn more about Pennsylvania's pigeon shoots, visit http://www.humanesociety.org/wildlifeabuse
Patrick Kwan, New York State Director
The Humane Society of the United States http://www.humanesociety.org/ http://www.twitter.com/heypatrick http://bit.ly/HSUSNYfacebook
Wall Street Journal
May 24, 2010, 5:09 PM ETNYC
Pigeons Trapped, Kidnapped and Shot for Sport, Group Says
By R.M. Schneidermanhttp:
For years there have been rumors. Unafraid of human contact and lured by scattered seeds, New York City pigeons are trapped in nets, thrown in the back of vans and whisked away. Just where they go is unclear. Some say they're used in voodoo ceremonies or as food in restaurants.
Earlier this month, in a letter to Pennsylvania lawmakers, the New York City Bar claims that many pigeons are captured and transported, without food or water, to middlemen in Pennsylvania. From there they are sold to shooting ranges for use in live trap shooting competitions where participants fire shotguns at live pigeons vaulted into the air.
"Because there is a constant demand for birds to supply these events, the trap shoots induce unlawful poaching in nearby New York City," the attorneys' group wrote in a letter to the leaders of the Pennsylvania state Senate and House of Representatives earlier this month.
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania are considering a ban on pigeon shooting statewide. The New York City Bar wrote the letter in support of the legislation.Trapping pigeons is legal under New York state law if the birds are considered a nuisance and if the trapper has the proper license. The pigeons also must be trapped "in a humane manner," according to the law. (The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation has not yet returned calls seeking the state definition of "humane.")
But Lori Barrett, a member of the New York City Bar, said in an interview that the birds in question are deprived of food and water and shipped across state lines to be killed, all of which violates state environmental and animal cruelty laws. According to the Heidi Prescott, a senior vice president for the Humane Society of the United States, the birds are often lured with food, then trapped in nets and taken in vans to pigeon brokers in Pennsylvania. The pigeon brokers act as middlemen, purchasing the birds for $2 a head, then often selling them to shooting ranges for $4 each.
The trap shooting events, which take place mostly in the fall and winter, largely occur at four shooting ranges in Bucks, Berks and Dauphin counties in eastern Pennsylvania.
At the daylong events, several hundred to several thousand pigeons are loaded into boxes and catapulted into the air at various angles as competitors, standing behind the boxes, shoot them out of the sky with 12-gauge shotguns.
Some of the birds are killed immediately, the New York City Bar said in the letter. But others, say the attorneys, either die from injuries or starvation or at the hands of workers at the shooting ranges, who kill the wounded birds.Proponents of trap shooting consider the activity a sport and say they have the legal right to participate in it.
"It's an American tradition and form of pest control," said Frank Pascoe, a Pennsylvania representative for the Amateur Trap Shooting Association.Pascoe added that he supports live pigeon shooting, though he himself participates and oversees shooting ranges that offer clay targets.