Pigeon hunt may be illegal - NSPCA
Cape Town - A planned pigeon shooting competition in the North West might be against the law, the NSPCA said on Tuesday.
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rustenberg manager Gerrit Naude said: "Complaints and concerns from the public alerted the NSPCA to an advertisement in the April 2011 edition of SA Hunter magazine."
The advertisement was for the Koster School's annual "Duifskiet Kompetisie" (pigeon shooting competition) on May 13 and 14.
The ad was in Afrikaans and stated that entries cost R400 a person in teams of four with huge prizes to be won.
Investigations by the NSPCA led to confirmation that an organised bird hunt would be held, with the Koster School benefiting financially from income generated, he said.
The NSPCA condemned this activity in the strongest possible terms, as it was unethical and linking a school with flagrant slaughter - turning killing into sport and competition - reflected badly on the country as a whole.
In addition, the involvement of children carried grave implications.
The NSPCA appreciated that animals and birds could damage or ruin crops, but there were humane ways of dealing with such issues and these needed to be explored first.
"Levels of violence in our communities and in our schools remain in the spotlight. We ask what kind of message this activity sends out."
The NSPCA was still attempting to put a stop to the bird hunt, which "we understand will be held on private property.
"Organisers have stated their intention and determination to go ahead. The NSPCA believes this hunt has the potential to violate the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962.
"North West province's nature conservation has confirmed that permits will be issued for participants.
"The NSPCA expresses consternation that the issuing of these permits does not involve or include any assessment of shooting skill," Naude said.