Rethinking Pigeon Welfare in Urban Environments

200’000 to 300’000 pigeons live amongst us in Swiss cities. In the absence of an animal-friendly pigeon management concept, the number of birds has exploded in many cities. Their overpopulation is causing apprehension regarding public health for both humans and non-human animals, potential damage to infrastructure, as well as ethical and welfare concerns. We must act now for pigeons’ welfare, and for more peaceful co-existence amongst all city dwellers. Join us in making a difference.

Swiss cities are home to approximately 200’000 to 300’000 pigeons. These birds adapt well to dynamic urban environments, thriving amidst constant change. Currently, there is an overpopulation of sick pigeons in Switzerland, creating tensions between human and non-human city dwellers. The lack of attention to, research on, and management of, pigeon populations is exacerbating this conflict. Pigeons suffer from stress, diseases and poor living conditions. Their distress is overlooked, though barely contested in public debate or in scientific research.

As sentient beings, pigeons experience pain and suffering, pleasure, play and joy. They can even differentiate between styles of artistic painting! Known for their incredible navigational abilities, pigeons are also social animals. They form pair bonds, participate in courtship and display cooperative behaviours. We, humans, share urban environments with a wide diversity of species, including pigeons; considering their welfare is crucial for the well-being of all city dwellers – human and non human. Today, pigeons experience profound daily suffering, and the need to protect them is ever-more pressing.

The aim of our petition

Through the “Invisible Animals” campaign and petition, we seek to prioritise pigeon welfare via humane population management. In this context, we must build and maintain professionally managed pigeon lofts and ensure better medical care for pigeons.

Sentience’s asks for pigeons

  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

The unseen consequences of pigeon overpopulation

Traditional pigeon population management methods – such as trapping and killing – proved ineffective, leading to rapid population replenishment. In the 1980-1990s, pigeon lofts were introduced; and they proved successful in guaranteeing population management. Egg swapping techniques were used by replacing pigeons’ eggs with dummies as an effective measure of birth control. However, over recent years, lofts’ funding was discontinued, and lofts have fallen into disuse in many cities.

Too many pigeons concentrated in one area strain available resources such as food, water and nesting sites. This intensifies competition amongst pigeons and, adversely, affects their welfare but also that of other birds and non-human animals sharing the same resources. Whilst the transmission of diseases from pigeons to humans is limited, an overabundance of pigeons in one area facilitates disease spread amongst pigeons, and weakens their immune system, resulting in a large number of sick birds.

Pigeon overpopulation also exacerbates the existing “human/pigeon” conflict, leading to public antipathy towards these birds. Due to property damage and public health concerns, pigeons are generally deemed a public nuisance. In this context, the implementation and maintenance of pigeon lofts, alongside “egg-swapping” techniques as an effective measure of birth control, promotes a more harmonious coexistence between humans and these birds.

These actions lead to reduced, but healthier, pigeon populations, decreased strain on resources, as well as adequate feeding practices through the provision of grains, leafy vegetables, berries and seeds at specific locations such as pigeon lofts.

Become an advocate for pigeons!

Pigeons are unexpected environmentalists, and they play a vital role in supporting ecosystems by dispersing seeds as they navigate through urban areas. Enhancing population management strategies and delving deeper into research on pigeon ecology can only yield positive outcomes in the long term for both pigeons and humans. This ensures pigeons’ health and it enhances the quality of the urban environment for both humans and other non-human city dwellers.

As a society, we bear the ethical duty to approach pigeons with care and compassion, reduce their suffering and actively contribute to their well-being. Help us advocate for our feathered friends, as well as for establishing an environment that prioritises the well-being of pigeons and other non-human animals in cities. One way of doing so is by caring for pigeons in professionally managed pigeon lofts, as well as providing grains, leafy vegetables, berries and seeds at designated locations.

Implementing these changes requires the backing of our institutions. Your signature on our petition is a catalyst for positive change, it raises public interest in the welfare of pigeons and other non-human city dwellers. Whilst one signature may seem like nothing, a well-supported petition shows our society’s commitment and concern for the protection of all creatures that we share urban spaces with.

Sign our petition today to prioritise pigeon welfare via humane population management, to build and maintain professionally managed pigeon lofts, as well as to ensure better medical care for pigeons.

Become a voice for our forgotten feathered friends.

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