But is it really beautiful?..
It has already been written about, the problem is not new. However, typing “Doves for weddings” into the Google search box brings up a lot of ads, and I found only three articles that shed light on the cruel reality of such birds.
By the way, I noticed that after 2014, most of such ads already have a similar caption: “Pigeons are constantly trained, so they always find their way home after release.” Really?
Facebook social pictures of poor birds constantly appear in various groups on the network. The photos I am attaching to this article were uploaded by a person (with their permission) who found the birds near the church after a wedding at the weekend.
It can be seen that the three unfortunates, having returned to the church, no longer know what to do. And there are only three of them left. And this probably means that the fourth one has already been dealt with by a cat or a hawk… Or maybe it flew home? Those three squatted there until late… We can only guess how many such images we would collect in all of Lithuania.
Since the problem is relevant, it made me look into it more deeply. Who protects the rights of such birds? How is “pigeon rental” legally regulated? It seems that no way. Or some sort of “wedding paraphernalia” or something.
I started my search on the VMVT page. There I found legislation governing the welfare of pets and farm animals. Only they do not mention pigeons anywhere! I found canaries and parrots listed under Animal pets, but no word on pigeons. It is the same with farm animals – chickens, geese, ducks, breeding poultry are mentioned there. I conclude that pigeons are not birds. Or maybe I just didn’t find the information? Maybe that information is hidden somewhere, only a mere mortal has no way to find it?
There is such an Association of Poultry Breeders in Lithuania. It also owns pigeon breeders. There is also the Lithuanian Pigeon Sports Federation. I don’t know if the members of these associations are in the business of renting birds, but at least they are on some kind of register. I found out – members of the association must ring their pigeons (if they want to participate in exhibitions or competitions).
The ring of the bird is a sign confirming its identity. It shows the country, ring size, year, series and number of the ring. There are sport pigeons and carrier pigeon enthusiasts and professionals. Their birds can easily fly several hundred kilometers and successfully return back. And they are also ringed.
The photos clearly show that at least two of the pigeons are decorative – the feathers on their legs give it away. Maybe all three – I can’t say, I’m not a specialist. Decorative pigeons are not sports pigeons. They can only fly a short distance, do not know how to orient themselves in space and do NOT return to the breeder.
After satisfying their sentimental “holiday lust”, such birds are simply condemned to destruction. Most often they return to the place from where they were released, and remain scared and lost to await their end. They are not even able to find food… I would make a banal comparison: releasing a decorative pigeon is the same as taking a hen out of the hen house and leaving it in the forest… Will she have many chances to survive?
I believe that there are responsible pigeon breeders (or breeders – I don’t know what they are called) who rent out sport trained ringed pigeons for such entertainment and successfully return home after the festival. I believe they pay taxes and keep records. But then who are these poor people in the pictures? Who is responsible for them, who owns them?
Irresponsible dog breeders have repeatedly drawn the ire of the public and the media. Just like people who throw blind kittens into a container – they are even threatened with criminal liability for this. And the poor birds are still left to the will of fate. Nobody cares about their fate (let alone their well-being). So why are there still double standards? Is one life somehow more valuable than another?
And again at the weekend, more than one pair of doves will be thrown into the sky by the newlyweds with trembling hearts, and after a while they will be remembered only by piles of bloody feathers… Maybe let’s collect them and send them to the same newlyweds – they can stick them in their wedding albums as “eternal love and fidelity” symbol? Or let’s build altars near the churches, on which the newlyweds can offer dove sacrifices to the goddess Laima, Milda, Giltina or whoever they want. Because that way the birds will at least suffer less…
A comment submitted by the Animal Welfare and Health Department of the State Food and Veterinary Service states that the use of pigeons at weddings or other events is not regulated.
“However, taking into account the potential risk of biosecurity factors, the spread of infectious bird diseases and irresponsible or even possible animal cruelty, both pigeon breeders and event organizers should think twice before making such a decision.
Usually, celebrations of this type take place in territories belonging to local governments, so the organizers of weddings or other events must inform the administration of the municipality in whose territory the events with animals are planned about the planned events during which animals will be used.
Also, event organizers or pigeon owners must ensure that the used animals are safely returned to the holding place after the time allotted for the event, without causing them stress or other risk factors, and that the welfare of the birds is ensured both during the event and during transportation to the holding place.
It should be noted that according to the Law on Animal Welfare and Protection, actions when animals are used for advertising, filming, photography, exhibitions and other events are considered cruel treatment of animals, their torture, if as a result pain, fear, suffering is caused to animals, animals are forced to surpass their innate abilities abilities or are crippled.
In the case you describe, where after the event the animals are left in a public place, such as city squares, instead of being returned to their usual place of keeping, such making animals homeless is also classified as animal cruelty and torture.
Thus, in accordance with the provisions of the Animal Welfare and Protection Law, municipal administrations organize activities to reduce the number of stray pets in the municipal territory, temporary care of stray and stray animals, return of stray animals to their owners.
It is also necessary to pay attention to the fact that animals kept and cared for by humans, when they get into an environment that is unusual for them, do not find suitable food for themselves – therefore they become weak, they are not used to flying long distances, they are timid and do not assess possible dangers – therefore they become victims of predators.
In addition, both pigeons in the environment and those kept by keepers are susceptible to the same infectious, parasitic transmissible diseases, such as avian influenza, Newcastle disease, feather rot, down rot, etc. So, if after the event the pigeons are returned to their usual place of keeping, but during the event they came into contact with wild pigeons (which is very real), the birds bring a “whole bunch” of diseases. Thus, in this irresponsible treatment of animals, biosecurity measures are not ensured.
In conclusion, it is necessary to remind both newlyweds, event organizers, and persons who are involved in delivering pigeons to events – be responsible for the life, health, and well-being of animals. After all, animals (pigeons in this case) are sentient beings that feel pain, fear, stress, hunger, thirst and other feelings. One moment for the newlyweds and the participants of the celebration dedicated to them can be disastrous for life, for which a person is personally responsible,” states the comment submitted by the Animal Welfare and Health Department of the State Food and Veterinary Service.
This subjective opinion of the author does not necessarily coincide with the editor’s opinion: lrytas.lt is not responsible for the content of the reader.