Pigeons not animals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1994:

HEGINS, Pennsylvania––The Fund for
Animals is urging activists to send copies of the
dictionary definition of “animal” to Pennsylvania
State Police Commissioner Glenn Walp, for refus-
ing to charge participants and staff at the Hegins
pigeon shoot with animal abuse. Walp said his
legal advisors are uncertain if pigeons are “ani-
mals” and therefore protected by state law.
The Hegins shoot, held each Labor Day
since 1934, went on as scheduled this year after the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court on September 2
rejected an appeal of a lower court’s refusal to issue
an injunction to stop it. The shoot organizers
refused an offer of $70,000 to call it off, delivered
by Rutgers Animal Rights Law Clinic director Gary
Francione on behalf of an anonymous donor. The
shoot raises about $20,000 a year for the Hegins
recreation department, but costs almost as much to
run––and far more when the cost of the state troop-
ers who provide security is factored in. The offer
was controversial in animal protection circles
because the shoot organizers might have demanded
similar amounts to call off future shoots.

Despite the troopers’ presence, recounted
longtime pigeon shoot protester Steve Hindi, “One
scumbag beat the hell out of Fund for Animals
director Heidi Prescott, choking her and bruising
her back. He and his scum partners then harassed
and challenged some protesters, mostly women, to
fight.” Prescott was not seriously hurt.
Records kept by 29 Fund monitors docu-
mented that of 5,456 pigeons released to be shot,
22% were killed immediately; 57% were wounded
and later dispatched by teenaged attendents; 13%
were wounded but not captured by attendents; and
9% got away. The numbers were similar to those
recorded in 1993, when of 4,449 pigeons released,
30% were killed immediately; 47% were wounded
and later dispatched; 11% were wounded but not
captured; and 11% got away.
Fund rescuers retrieved and treated 162
wounded pigeons, of whom 108 survived and were
taken to rehabilitation facilities.
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