PETA Wants Queen Elizabeth to Cut Ties with Pigeon Racing

The organization's latest campaign against animal cruelty calls for Her Majesty to retract her support from the Royal Pigeon Racing Association.

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ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP / Getty Images

Bill Chapman stretches the wing to check for moulting on one of his racing pigeons in his backgarden loft at home in Reading, Berkshire on Nov. 27, 2007.

Flying over the English Channel was once a death-defying task, and a lot of pilots wound up with just the dead part and none of the defying. Things have gotten a lot safer since then, but for one class of travelers trying to make the journey, it’s still a risky business: racing pigeons—at least according to PETA’s latest campaign against animal cruelty.

PETA has never been shy about making its voice heard in the loudest and least ignorable way possible, and this time, its UK chapter went straight to the top, requesting that Queen Elizabeth herself retract her support from the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, reported Today.

According to PETA’s campaign, an undercover investigation has revealed that the arduous 900-mile journey racing pigeons have to undertake, and the way they are exported, is inhumane.

A spokesperson from PETA told Today that the Queen, and her 250 racing pigeons, play an important role in the sport, which is a part of the reason she has been addressed.

In response, the Royal Pigeon Racing Association has stated that the welfare of its pigeons is regarded with the utmost importance, though it acknowledges that losses do happen during the races. They also invite those who are worried for the pigeons’ lives to spare Her Majesty the unwanted attention and contact the pigeon-racing unions instead.

The association has been linked to the Royal family since its formation in 1896, and PETA’s research has shown that there are 40, 000 pigeon racers in the U.K., reported Today.


Why should the Queen do this? Is Pigeon Racing any different from any other animal sport such as Horse Racing, Dog Racing???? I keep pigeons and I take part in Racing however, If I feel the need to stop throughout the year and let my birds rest I will do so. Pigeon Racing is a great sport, not JUST for money but the love of it, the fun of it. My older birds have finished racing for the year now and I let them out to fly and when they are in the coop I will get one out and hold it and talk to it. Pigeons are a great husbandry for those that are interested. I feel people like PETA and it's followers are Jealous of a sport they cannot get in to. Their are some great Fanciers that love and adore their birds (Me included), then there are some sods that just don't get the hang of it. You have to treat your birds with respect like all animals. The Queen has had Pigeons in the Royal Blood for many years and it's impossible for Pigeon racing to come to a sudden stop. No, she nor we won't stop. As long as we love our sport, our birds and the heritage it derives from, we shall not stop.


Bravo, PETA, Bravo!  Who with a shred of human decency can support a pastime that costs thousands of birds their lives?  It's appalling that this is allowed to continue.  Pigeons grace us with their beauty yet ask for nothing but our crumbs in return.  To exploit them in these races, knowing that most will die, is outrageous and should be criminal.  The Queen should set a very real, meaningful example by publicly condemning these races.