PETA: Pigeon Racing Is A "Blood Sport"
There are, however, some sickos who intentionally kill the birds, as you can see in a video (provided by PETA) embedded below.
According to PETA, the birds are often raised in captivity and then taken hundreds of miles away and expected to race home. Along the way, many of them are killed by things like hawks, weather, or starvation. PETA argues that because the animals are raised in captivity they're not prepared for life in the wild.
The group says that only about 40-percent of the birds involved in pigeon racing finish the races. During a race in Queens, the group says only four of 213 birds made it to the finish line. Keep in mind, we're talking about pigeons -- perhaps a few just decided to head to Central Park rather than return to life in captivity. In other words, there's no way to know whether the missing birds died or just didn't return home.
Alleged animal abuse aside, PETA claims that pigeon racing generates $15 million a year in illegal gambling proceeds and involves felony violations of federal gambling, racketeering, and tax-evasion laws.
As we mentioned, there a few creeps who actually kill birds that perform poorly in the races. One man is caught on tape saying that "the first thing you have to learn [about pigeon racing] -- how to kill pigeons." He goes on to say drowning and suffocation are his two preferred methods for killing birds. See video below. Click here for more on PETA's investigation.