Viral Video Starts Online Debate on Pigeon Culling

Do we treat pigeons as pests or as VIPs?

A Facebook video that has gone viral shows a flock of pigeons in her neighbourhood. The video shows the birds being poisoned and also captured their death a few seconds later.

“Modern-day genocide”

The person behind the post dubbed it a “modern-day genocide”. But perhaps she realised the severity of the term, since she later removed it.

“Genocide” is often reserved for mass killings of thousands, sometimes millions, such as the Holocaust of the Second World War.

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Inappropriate terms aside, the netizen is obviously passionate about animal welfare. She wrote,

They feed them poison and kill them. What did these birds do, really?

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Her video then pans to a group of individuals who allegedly poisoned the pigeons. She blasted them, writing

Standing there and smiling away, happily watching animals dying. I hope karma gets them, seriously.

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You can watch the full video here:

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Animal cruelty and public complaints

Her video has divided cyberspace, with some calling out the cruelty to pigeons while others saying it was a necessary evil.

Some pointed out that pigeons have the right to live.

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And karma is very real.

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Some said that if the public stopped complaining about the birds, the government would stop killing them.

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Also, others said we shouldn’t blame people for doing their job.

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Health and hygiene

Nicknamed “rats with wings”, pigeons are often mistreated because their poop is believed to be “cancerous”.

But that actually isn’t the case. Pigeon poop can rarely lead to human diseases, but that has done little to reassure people.

Given the health issues and complaints, the government makes an active effort to control Singapore’s pigeon population.

You can be fined up to $500 under the Animal & Birds Act for feeding pigeons. AVA also has online feedback forms to report pigeon feeding activities.

Last July, two men made headlines after they were fined $1500 and $450 for pigeon feeding. An AVA authority responded to this incident and said,

“Pigeons dirty the environment with droppings, and leftover food from pigeon feeding may attract other pests, like rats, that carry diseases and pose a risk to public health.”

In 2016, the government introduced a birth control trial which stops female pigeons from producing eggs or causes them to lay eggs that do not hatch.

Justified or not?

We don’t deny that pigeon culling was created with the best of intentions.

As we all know, their ability to spread diseases raises health concerns and complaints. However, AVA’s latest policy of feeding them poison brings up issues on ethics and animal rights.

What do you think about the video? Let the debate begin.

Featured Image from Facebook.