NSPCA criticises pigeon race organisers

2017-02-06 22:31
Pigeons from the Million Dollar Pigeon Race transported back to Vanderbijlpark from Colesburg. (Million Dollar Pigeon Race, Facebook)

Pigeons from the Million Dollar Pigeon Race transported back to Vanderbijlpark from Colesburg. (Million Dollar Pigeon Race, Facebook)

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Johannesburg – The NSPCA has criticised the organisers of the SA Million Dollar Pigeon race for allegedly planning to go ahead with the event on Saturday, despite inclement weather.

Organisers ignored warnings of thunderstorms and heavy rainfall, NSPCA special projects unit manager Meg Wilson said in a statement on Monday.

The event was postponed to Wednesday.

Wilson said the race organisers moved the birds to Colesberg, in the Northern Cape, approximately 570km from their home in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, knowing that the race might not take place.

“The confinement and long distance transportation of these birds is irresponsible and unnecessary, given the adverse weather conditions leading up to the event.” Wilson said.

Race managing director Sara J Blackshaw said in a Facebook post on Saturday that the weather conditions were not expected.

“It is due to circumstances completely out of our control and we believe this to be in the best interest of the pigeons,” Blackshaw said.

Race organisers did not respond to phone calls from News24 on Monday.

According to the NSPCA, 6 000 bird entered the competition in 2014 and only 3 500 completed the journey.

A total of 40% of the birds originally entered disappeared during training events.

“There are valid concerns for the welfare of these birds. Historically, 75% never return. All this in the name of sport,” the NSPCA said.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  animals

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