Alastair Grant/AP
A pigeon walks on to Centre Court as Andy Murray of Britain plays Julien Benneteau of
France during their Men's Singles, second round, match at Wimbledon, Thursday, June
29, 2006. (AP)

Pigeons and PETA Pose Problems for Wimbledon

June 25, 2008 05:59 PM
by Isabel Cowles
PETA threatened to press charges against Wimbledon officials for hiring marksmen to kill pigeons that were dive-bombing the courts; Wimbledon spokesmen promise to disarm.

30-Second Summary

In response to threats from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), The All England Club, which hosts the Wimbledon tennis tournament, has vowed to modify its treatment of pigeons.

Normally, Wimbledon officials use two trained hawks to keep pigeons off the main tennis courts. This year, however, pigeons have overwhelmed the hawks, “dive-bombing” players on the courts.

To address the issue quickly, Wimbledon officials hired snipers to shoot the birds.

When British newspapers reported the shootings, PETA representatives sent Wimbledon officials a letter threatening to press charges against the organization for violating the 2006 Animal Welfare act.

“Since you last updated your protocol for dealing with pigeons, a law was passed—the Animal Welfare Act 2006—that you must not know about. … Lethal control can only be used if the target species presents a demonstrable risk to public health and safety,” Bruce Friedrich, head of PETA in the U.K. wrote.

Wimbledon spokespeople responded with an agreement to stop shooting the birds. Despite the response, PETA may still press charges.

Headline Link: Wimbledon officials withdraw their guns

Background: Wimbledon’s pigeon problem

Key Players: Wimbledon and PETA


Reference: The Animal Welfare Act


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