PETA uncovers pigeon racing’s dark side in the Bronx

A racer in the Bronx stretches out a pigeon's head, PETA alleges in this photo they took.

The sport of pigeon racing is alive and well in New York City — and is rife with illegal gambling, the killing of unwanted birds and abusive training methods, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals alleges.
 
PETA announced today it conducted a 15-month undercover investigation into pigeon racing by infiltrating the Bronx Homing Pigeon Club and other similar organizations around the country. As part of their covert pigeon probe, PETA even found that performance-enhancing drugs are used on the helpless birds.
 
The organization found that the birds are often forced to race for distances up to 600 miles, and that 60 percent of birds in those races typically succumb to such things as extreme weather and exhaustion, or fly into electric lines and are killed.
 
Even those that survive the race are not treated well, PETA alleges. Many birds that make it home but fail to win their owners cash are then suffocated, drowned or decapitated, according to PETA. The group called on the New York Attorney General’s office and the New York Police Department to look into the pigeon club.

Pigeon racing is not prohibited in and of itself, but betting on those races violates a number of laws. High-stakes gambling is involved, PETA alleges; pots can climb to more than $200,000.
 
“Birds who are suffering and dying by the thousands and bundles of illegal gambling loot right under the noses of law-enforcement officials should be an embarrassment to the city and the state of New York,” Jeff Kerr, general counsel to PETA, said in a statement.

At one point, PETA videotaped the Bronx club president talking about a race in New Jersey, in which only 41 out of 769 birds returned within two days. At another race in Queens, only four out of 213 returned, PETA claimed.

“The first thing you have to learn – how to kill pigeons,” one racer allegedly told PETA’s investigators.
 
The Bronx club president also allegedly admitted to killing federally protected birds of prey.
 
A member of the club declined to comment when contacted by Metro.
 

Steroids given to birds

The Bronx club president told PETA’s undercover investigators that four racing pigeons tested positive in 2010 for performance-enhancing substances.

Those drugs included the anabolic steroid boldenone, morphine and a cocaine derivative.

The drugs were administered either by injection or by mixing them into the pigeons’ food and water, PETA said.

See more of PETA’s photos from their investigation in the Bronx and elsewhere here.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…

Style

Cara Delevingne's major fashion faux-pas

Find out why the outfit Cara Delevingne wore to Leonardo DiCaprio's charity gala raised eyebrows.