Pigeon Perch Perfect: Let’s Coop-erate for Urban Harmony

Swiss cities are home to between 200 000 to 300 000 pigeons. Yet, research on pigeons’ behavioural ecology is neglected, and their use of urban habitat is ignored by society. Pigeons’ interests are not at all considered politically, which is why the welfare of these beings is becoming increasingly jeopardised. Right now, there is an overpopulation of sick pigeons in Switzerland. They suffer from stress, diseases, and poor living conditions.

Methods for regulating pigeon populations were already introduced in the 1980-90s. Pigeon lofts in particular, which are used by pigeons as breeding grounds, offer one of the most effective methods of population control: eggs can be replaced with …

… dummy eggs made of plaster during a process known as egg swapping. However, in recent years, lofts’ funding was consciously discontinued, and lofts have fallen into disuse in many cities.

Pigeons are sentient beings with remarkable cognitive abilities and social behaviours. At Sentience, we believe that we have a moral duty towards pigeons – especially because they have always depended on us as feral birds. This is why we are calling for existing pigeon lofts to be maintained and additional ones to be built, as well as better medical care to be provided in the context of pigeon loft operations.

Help us by signing our petition today and become a voice for the invisible residents of our cities.

3'680out of 4'000 signatures
RUTH R.vor 19 Minuten
Margherita B.vor 24 Minuten
Petra Z.vor 1 Stunde
Lily H.vor 1 Stunde
Cyrille J.vor 2 Stunden
Adrian Thomas L.vor 2 Stunden
I help pigeons
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Petition

1

Development of a pigeon-friendly population management concept

2

Provision of financial resources for the construction and maintenance of professionally managed pigeon lofts

3

Implementation of a humane population control system that is compliant to animal welfare standards

4

Placing greater importance on the pigeons’ role as city dwellers in city and urban planning

5

Ensuring better medical care for pigeons

Organisations

In collaboration with Pigeons of cities Switzerland (Stadttauben Schweiz)

Supporting organisations

Starting point

Not only do pigeons feel pain and suffering, but – for instance – they also show signs of remarkable navigational abilities. Their complex spatial orientation capacities and homing behaviours indicate high levels of cognitive processing and perception. On top of this, pigeons are social animals: they form pair bonds, engage in courtship, and even display cooperative behaviours. Despite scientific evidence of pigeons’ intelligence, they are still mistreated. Their dignity is flouted, and they do not have the legal protection of other non-human animals.

Concerns for public health and infrastructure damage repeatedly prompted authorities to …

… launch large-scale extermination campaigns to control pigeon populations. However, these methods had no effect on pigeon population sizes in the long term: the decimation of the population was more than compensated for by increased reproduction rates. A successful alternative is the construction of pigeon lofts, where population management can be done. Yet, in recent years, these lofts have been more and more neglected. As a result, there is currently an overpopulation of sick pigeons, which exacerbates the prevailing “human/pigeon conflict”.

Pigeons, like other “invisible” animals, have adapted to our cities; and it is our duty to take care of them and to create more peaceful co-existence between humans and non-human city dwellers. At Sentience, we are asking, amongst other demands, to re-implement and maintain pigeon lofts, as well as to ensure better medical care for pigeons.

Challenges

The way cities are built often leads us to believe that there is a clear separation between nature and urban life. Yet, the presence of pigeons, rats, and other non-human animals that have adapted to humans’ urban habitat overtime, tells us otherwise. As feral animals, urban pigeons are particularly dependent on us humans, which is why we have a moral duty to take care of their welfare.

The lack of effective pigeon population management is problematic on many fronts. An overpopulation of pigeons can be a strain on available resources such as food, water and nesting sites. This leads to …

… increased competition amongst pigeons, which harms both pigeons and other non-human animals relying on the same resources. Although disease transmission from pigeons to humans is extremely limited and unlikely, overcrowded pigeon populations facilitate the spread of disease amongst pigeons.

The proven and existing strategies (see: Augsburg Model) for managing pigeon populations must finally be implemented – as they have long-term positive impacts for both pigeons and humans.

Solutions

We must include pigeon population management in cities for the well-being of all city dwellers. One way of doing so is the instalment and maintenance of pigeon lofts, accompanied by “egg-swapping” techniques. This measure results in lower but healthier pigeon populations, better health care for existing individuals, less strain on food resources, as well as sufficient and species-appropriate feeding.

Together, we can promote responsible feeding practices through the provision of grains, leafy vegetables, berries and seeds at specific locations such as pigeon lofts. A feeding ban for private individuals is only sensible if it is accompanied by a higher availability of food in pigeon lofts. We must create an environment in which the well-being of other non-human city dwellers is taken seriously.

By signing our petition today, you contribute to initiating the political and social discussions on the establishment and functioning of pigeon lofts, as well as on the overall treatment of pigeons.

Kampagne Unsichtbare Tiere

This petition is part of the “Invisible Animals” campaign

The “Invisible Animals” campaign has emerged from the understanding that the interests and needs of pigeons, rats, bees and fish receive little to no attention, both politically and socially.

The goal of our campaign is to bring the daily suffering of these animals into the spotlight because, at Sentience, we are convinced that even minor adjustments to the political framework can have a significant positive effect: for the animals, the environment as well as public health.

Together, we can make the suffering of “invisible” animals visible and ensure that their interests receive stronger political consideration now and in the future. It all starts with your signature.