Pigeons are considered to be a pest by many on the island, with various localities authorising the regular culling of pigeons, in some cases by allowing them to be shot in order to bring down their numbers.
There have been many calls for the island to move away from this barbaric practice over the years, leading the Local Councils Association to launch a project that will see silos installed on rooftops in several localities.
However, animal rights’ activists are calling for a project set to be launched by several local council’s in Malta for the culling of pigeons to be altered in order to prevent the pigeons from having to be killed.
The proposed project would see pigeons enter the silos where they will be given feed containing contraceptives in order to prevent them from breeding.
Councillors present for a meeting about the project last month were told that among the side effects of the contraceptive were a loss of orientation, as well as a loss of appetite.
They were also told that the pigeons would not be able to leave the silo once they entered, leading to their death.
In its announcement, the Local Councils Association said that the launch of the project follows consultation with several NGOs and regulatory entities, as well as the ministry and the Commissioner for Animal Welfare. It will be launched in Gzira, Sliema, St Julians, Rabat, Floriana and Valletta.
Activists from the platform Vegan Prism are now calling for the system to be “tweaked” with pigeons being transferred to a quarantine facility and eventually exported rather than being killed.
The activists are proposing the setting up of a National Pigeon Management Program that would include an educational campaign about the program as well as greater enforcement to stop the public from feeding pigeons.
They are also proposing that once caught, the pigeons are kept in a quarantine facility where they are fed contraceptives together with a fed contraceptives as part of a “nutritious diet” and given medication to rid them of any diseases they may have.
“Further to the trapping stations, bird baths are to be installed to ensure that the pigeons that are not trapped stay clean and free of diseases so as not endanger the health of residents,” the activists said.
They say that the government should then make arrangements with foreign governments for the pigeons to be exported “all over Europe”.
“Pigeon export is something which is done very regularly all over the world, and should be straightforward to implement,” they said.
“Only through this National Pigeon Management Program can we tackle local council’s immediate problems as well as the long term problem of population control, thanks to the contraceptive, without having to act like a third world nation and be cruel to our winged residents.”
The feasibility of trapping and exporting hundreds, if not thousands, of pigeons each year is likely to require significant investment and infrastructural development which might be considered excessive given the nature of the problem.
However, the activist insists that the country had an obligation to protect all animals, including pigeons.
What do you make of this proposal?