Pigeon fanciers have their feathers ruffled

Pigeon racing will have no significant impact on feral pigeon invasion in the country, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

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The DEA said it met with specialists and agreed that the “numbers are reasonably low in relation to the existing invasions”. It was therefore “possible to provide exemption for the racing pigeon activities” the department said in a statement.

This followed a recent statement issued by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) in which it said that the breeding, trading and racing of pigeons was illegal. This was because the feral pigeon was now listed as prohibited in terms of the Invasive and Alien Species List regulated by the DEA.

The NSPCA also raised concerns about the possible cruelty of pigeon racing. There was “a high number of pigeons who simply do not ever reach their race destination for various reasons including exhaustion and racing taking place in inclement or extreme weather conditions”, according to NSPCA statement.

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As a matter of policy, the NSPCA opposes animal racing in any form.