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Thursday, August 26, 1999

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Another example of senseless cruelty to sentient beings - August 26, 1999

Concerning reporter Ryan Teague Beckwith's Aug. 13 Daily World story headlined "Pigeons eradicated from Wirta Hotel": This is yet another example of senseless cruelty to sentient beings and illustrates perpetuation of myths for profit as well as typical government malfeasance.

Did the Department of Transportation test the droppings to see from what birds they came and if or how damaging the droppings were to the paint on the bridges? 

Did they consider that there might be a problem with the paint? Were any other possible causes and remedies seriously explored or evaluated before blasting the poor pigeons?

The removal schemes used by the USDA (Wildlife Services, a.k.a. Animal Damage Control) are well known as usually the worst - and often counterproductive - methods of bird control. 

The last line in the article states, "If the building is not removed, it will be recolonized over time ..." That is true - and validates the preposterousness of the shooting scheme. The same results would would have been - and would continue to be - accomplished if the building was properly sealed against birds and other animals by using plywood, wire or nylon netting, etc. Go back some time and see how effective the USDA's job was - NOT. 

Of course, after an expose' (should you choose to publish one), they may surreptitiously make sure that doesn't happen - which would, in itself, make a dandy story.

Pigeons generally pose an insignificant threat to public health. For more details, please see

Regarding the statement that agents wore breathing protection: It is a good idea, and possibly an OSHA requirement, to do so in an abandoned building to guard against inhaling dust, insulation, rot, insect debris, etc., regardless of whether birds or their droppings are present. 

And, contrary to hyped belief, surveys show that the Rock Doves we know as pigeons are actually appreciated by the vast majority of the public. Try conducting your own poll. 

Pigeons are valuable and have an illustrious history of service to mankind. (Please see

In our ever more animal-compassionate society, this kind of deplorable action is not only brutal and wasteful, it is unacceptable.

Dave Roth
State president
Urban Wildlife Society
and Chairman 
Avian Affairs Coalition
Phoenix, Ariz.

Letters to the Editor
Publisher, Ted Dixon
John Hughes: Editor
Doug Barker: City Editor
Dee Anne Shaw: Assistant City Editor
Ryan Beckwith: Reporter
Copyright 1999 The Daily World.