in racers'/fanciers' own words, which is a very small sample of such messages posted to their own, restricted membership email discussion groups (unless otherwise noted):
Note: It is a customary practice of competitive pigeon racers to kill lost birds they retrieve after being found and reported by concerned people. The hapless bird may be the result of "basket culling" in the first place, which means that birds are carelessly released far from home and any who don't make it back to their family and friends (in essence, abandoned) are deemed not worthy of keeping, anyway.
A tactic to build and maintain
false public image by the competitive pigeon racing community is to assure
finders that lost birds are welcome back home, even though they
will actually be killed -- if not immediately,
most likely in the very near future because their failure to return home
proved to their owner that they are no longer worthy of being alive.
From: Harry Hill [Maverick Loft]
. . .
...if I can find the legal owner he or she could claim the bird. I'm trying to locate the owner, what I want to avoid is having a situation where the legal owner contacts the animal lover and says to kill it or picks it up and kills it. That happens ... often. I got a call about a lost bird once and contacted the owner to pick up their bird. They didn't want to but I explained it was the responsibility of the owner to collect lost birds. This person went to where the bird was, collected it and as he walked back to his car he pulled its head in front of the rescuers and threw it in the trash can. I got the call from the rescuers who were all upset and could not understand why someone would do something like that. ...we do have to be discreet in how we do this in front of others...
Subject: ... What to do with them all...
From: Eleanor D Souza - Lady Flyer - 1212 Loft
I for one would not want all my racers to return -- where would I put them? What would I do with them? ...
that have done nothing as a young bird or as a yearling and show no signs
of being a potentially good breeder are culled.
Yes. Culled [killed]. ...
I haven't come across anyone wanting to keep a pigeon as a pet and I
wouldn't give a cull to anyone wanting to
improve their stock. ...I don't have the time,
money, or energy to keep birds that have not proven themselves as racers
nor showing potential in being a good breeder.
I have been breeding pigeons for over twenty-five years ... Normally I raise around fifty birds each year. I train hard and ... some birds can't take daily training [meaning, they don't make it home and are lost in the wild to die] ... I have never had more than two or three that I have kept at the end of the year. Everything else is culled. Since I don't fly oldbirds [sic] if the bird does not produce in the breeding loft as a yearling then it is also culled.
Sounds harsh, but I am interested
in winning. ...
For the homing pigeons culling
isn't necessary because you can fly them and those that aren't good enough
will be lost. If a bird comes from the races late every time and it isn't
in the prizes you simply send it to a longer race and if it comes you send
to a longer one and so on.
Subject: Re: Culling (Animal Dave) BY Kenneth Oliver
From: Skyrac 4370 [SkyRacer Lofts]
If [a person against lethal culling]
were a pigeon in my loft [it] would be culled...
FACT NOT FICTION.
Click on this line to see a very special page re: Steve Souza
Subject: Returning Lost Racers
... I once met a pigeon guy at the feed store who raced pigeons; he said if a bird of his got lost, and was returned to him by a person, he just snapped the bird's neck for being a lousy racer....
Subject: YB races
From: Chris ... Drummond
By cutting YB losses, we hope to 'appear' as though we are more concerned for the birds.
Subject: Racers 1st-White dove 2nd
on one of the following underscored titles to go to that home page:
ANIMALS | PIGEONS | URBAN WILDLIFE SOCIETY | AVIAN AFFAIRS COALITION | WILDLIFE REHAB
ANIMAL PROTECTION AGENCY | VETERINARY EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE