U.K. PETA cook their own goose in attempt to make racing pigeon pie!   Leave a comment

Tasty Roast Goose.    Too many lies by PETA UK has certainly cooked their anti pigeon racing arguments!

Tasty Roast Goose. Too many lies by PETA UK has certainly cooked their anti pigeon racing arguments!

Fergus Elley, a racing pigeon enthusiast, former Veterinarian and long term Chronic Fatigue sufferer replies to the PETA’s U.K. video allegations of the fancy.

Have PETA gone totally “rabid” in their attempt to “liberate all the worlds animals”, free suffering pets from this earthly existence and totally undermine societies’ rights to own animals? Fergus wonders.

It is public knowledge that PETA wishes to shutdown pigeon racing worldwide. However, all Fergus thinks they will achieve is to be made to look rather stupid again. People around the world are becoming increasingly fed up with PETA and their controversial, sometimes quite bizarre media promotions.

PETA probably started out with good intentions 33 years ago but now there are just so many hidden agendas! Banning pigeon racing worldwide is just one of them, but what’s next, banning recreational fishing or guide dogs! Banning all dog breeds created by humans is another known agenda.

PETA started the ball rolling against racing pigeons some time ago and their futile attempts so far include protesting outside Mike Tyson’s Las Vegas home in 2008 prior to the screening of the great series, ‘Taking on Tyson’ by Animal Planet. The six part series showed Mike Tyson in a completely different light. No longer the ‘bad boy’ he’s portrayed as an excellent ambassador for pigeon racing and has a great love for his pigeons.

Fergus thinks that attacking the Queen is just another of PETA’s attention seeking media gimmicks. The Queen has Royal Lofts on Sandringham Estate containing around 250 racing pigeons. Her Majesty is also the patron of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) in England. Her birds regularly take part in UK races, and she has had racing pigeons since she was a child which she inherited from her grandfather.

The video starts with release footage of the Fougeres Young Bird National race on September 1st 2012 from France to English lofts. PETA incorrectly assert that 90% of the pigeons were lost including the Queen’s four birds which may’ve homed in after the race closed. Fergus says that PETA is misguided and the figures PETA is using simply don’t contain the full result of all the pigeons returning in race time.

Furthermore, in any pigeon race from anywhere, pigeons often return home after the race is closed. Fergus had one hen turn up almost a year later from a long distance race. A friend had one turn up three years later from the same racepoint and many turn up in the weeks following the race. Fergus says it is simply a fallacy that most pigeons can’t find some food in the wild of some description.

PETA says that ‘particularly for young birds crossing the Channel for the first time is extremely daunting’. This is partly true, if not misconstrued. The fact is that pigeons, like wild migratory birds need to learn to cross water and some birds are more innately gifted to do this than others. Pigeons do not only orientate by sight, they feel their way home by instinct, including over bodies of water. Some pigeons simply aren’t as gifted and, to coin a PETA type of cliche, they ‘fly to freedom’ by, in this case, perhaps staying in France.

Additionally, to assert that pigeons always fly close to the water’s surface Fergus says is not true. This happens mainly in headwinds, particularly strong ones and if the person looking after the pigeons has done their job right the pigeons will still be in the shelter of the pigeon transporter!

Fergus says, for example, in the case of a tail wind that the pigeons circle high and then when the flock has enough confidence they cross high and at great speeds.

Fergus also refutes the statement “that flying over water is more of a risk than flying over land”. There are no power lines, TV aerials or chimneys over water for one. There are also no birds of prey i.e. raptors! On land there are many peregrine. These raptors have devastating effects on pigeon racing in the UK. It is not so much the number that they kill, but that they cause the racing flocks to split up and scatter all over the place. Many become disoriented and lost as a result, especially young inexperienced racing pigeons.

Fergus says that for most fanciers around the world, pigeons are extensions of the family, just like your cat or dog. Orientating back home to their respective lofts in a race is what pigeons do naturally. They grow to love it. They are very well cared for. They have a much better life than the ‘street pigeons’ that have to scavenge for food daily and find shelter sometimes in very bitter winters.

Fergus says that pigeons winning medals in World War II is all the more reason to preserve the keeping of racing pigeons in honour of all the gutsy pigeons that came back to their lofts shot up.

Fergus says that the assertion that ‘the punters just having a flutter’ is incorrect, too, as in many parts of the world today there is very little money in pigeon racing. Fergus for one, as a person with a major health disability, enjoys the challenge of conditioning his birds for racing and breeding, just like many livestock breeders do.

Fergus emphasises that he might not be alive without the pigeons. He lived in the back of a lady’s garage for seven years from 1990 in Auckland, New Zealand. The pigeons gave him both solace and enjoyment as a very sick, single man. He eventually married and has two girls now aged 11 and 13. His wife says if he’d chucked the towel in, as many do with chronic illnesses, the girls wouldn’t have the enjoyment of their lives and the world would be a poorer place!

Fergus believes we need to promote the sport more around the world amongst those with infirmities. He says caring for animals or birds is better than anything else to keep one’s head above water when one has a chronic health problem.

So he has much reason to defend the sport. He knows the situation over in England and with regard to race liberations it is a very good one. They try very hard to get it right!

Fergus says that he loses very few pigeons in a year, racing up to 750 miles. In the natural world a lot more animals and birds over the course of a year become statistics e.g. the Mara River Wildebeest crossing and the migration of birds e.g. the Bar-tailed Godwit from the Arctic to New Zealand and back again within the year. Some flying to New Zealand as young as three months old with one female called “E7” setting a nonstop flight record of 11,680 kilometres from Alaska to New Zealand.

Fergus wonders if rehoming racing pigeons whose racing careers are over could become a policy which PETA could adopt in the future to show how much they care for pigeons.

Fergus says that PETA also had a swipe at the Barcelona International race which U.K. pigeons can participate in. Pigeons from Europe and the U.K. are very carefully prepared for these races. No stone is ‘left unturned’ in racing pigeon preparation for these long distance race events. Most fanciers will only send pigeons to these races that they think have a high chance of navigating the distance, usually just a handful at the most.

Of course there are hazards, just like there are for wild birds and for the pigeon it is the natural thing to fly home. Fergus says he personally doesn’t think there is a great risk of the pigeons perishing at sea if the flight is a very long one, e.g. Barcelona. Pigeons are highly intelligent and the UK pigeon is more likely to find some shelter e.g. in France and move on in the early hours the next day. Good liberators wait for forecasts of good settled weather for enough days for all the different countries pigeons entered in the International Barcelona race.

Fergus says that to say that pigeon racing is a blood sport is ridiculous. Fergus’s pigeons aren’t culled nowadays and he has many old ones that he doesn’t breed off due to their old age. These are the real trophies Fergus says!

Fergus therefore thinks that pigeon racing is capable of regulating itself without PETA’s interference. He can see clearly that PETA has a concern for animals and suggests that PETA look at working together with the respected racing pigeon organisations throughout the world to jointly make life better for racing pigeons. That is what he would do if he was a ‘mover or shaker’ in the PETA organisation!



Posted April 13, 2013 by ferguselley in Food for thought, U.k. news items

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