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.