Dutch animal society seeks ban on pigeon racing

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At least 900 out of 1,600 young pigeons have died from infection after being housed in a single coop for weeks before the Dutch Open race, says the animal protection society.

22 October 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - The Dutch animal protection society has asked Agriculture Minister Gerda Verburg to ban competition racing for young pigeons.

It says the Dutch Open, a race for thousands of young pigeons with prizes totalling EUR 100,000, cost the lives of an estimated 1,600 birds. The race was held on 4 October - World Animal Day - a day intended to celebrate animal life in all its forms.

The Dutch Open is a so-called "one coop race". Thousands of four-week-old pigeons are placed in a single coop for weeks before the race. This year, at least 900 birds died from infections during their time in the coop, while several hundred more failed to return from a training flight. Only 500 pigeons survived to take part in the race.

The animal protection society says pigeon breeders also encourage primary schools to sponsor them, but without telling the children about the deaths the sport can entail.

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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