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PETA urges investigation of Taiwan's pigeon racing circuit

TAIPEI--Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Friday urged Taiwanese authorities to investigate the pigeon racing industry, which it said costs the lives of 1.5 million birds a year.

“We are calling on the police to protect these peaceful, home-loving birds by investigating all violations of the laws associated with pigeon racing and prosecuting the guilty parties,” PETA said in a statement after filing a complaint with Taiwanese police this month.

PETA said a five-month investigation it carried out in Taiwan found that races “often proved fatal” for pigeons that were released hundreds of kilometers offshore and forced to fly home.

“Thousands of young birds die in each race when they are swept underwater by waves, or succumb to exhaustion before reaching land and drown because they cannot rest on water,” said a PETA investigator who asked not to be named.

Pigeons were also forced to race with untreated injuries, while not properly rested or in extreme weather and were sometimes killed if they returned late, PETA said.

More than 30,000 Taiwanese pigeon breeders race about two million pigeons each year, of which an estimated 1.5 million die, according to PETA.

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