A new project by Malta’s Local Councils Association will see pigeons administered with contraceptive feed which won’t result in their death, the association’s president Mario Fava has told Lovin Malta.
Fava was reacting to a report published yesterday about appeals by animal rights activists for the program to be altered in order for the pigeons not to be killed.
Instead, the activists are proposing that the pigeons be exported to foreign countries willing to accept them.
Their appeal followed a Gżira local council meeting in which it was said that the pigeons would be trapped in silos placed on rooftops of public buildings, where they would eventually die.
According to Fava, however, this is not the case.
“I wouldn’t necessarily call them silos, but automatic feeders containing bird feed with contraceptives in it,” Fava said, explaining that plans for the project had been in the works for some time.
“Initially, the intention was to have the feeders in public spaces like squares, but we decided that wouldn’t be viable because it would inconvenience people and might also pose a risk to other animals like cats and dogs.”
As a result, he said a decision was taken to install the feeders on rooftops of public buildings. Fava said that once the project was implemented, there would be feeders installed in several different sites across the country.
“When we started looking into the matter we learnt that pigeons need to be fed at the same time and place, ideally by the same person. They need to follow a pattern,” he said.
Automatic feeders, he said, would ensure that the pigeons were always fed at the same time.
Asked about concerns about the pigeons’ wellbeing, as well as the suggestion by councillors that the pigeons would be killed, Fava said that a number of informative meetings had been organised for local councils and that there would always be misunderstandings.
“We had issued a public call a year ago precisely because of these concerns. We’ve consulted with several NGOs, the Animal Welfare Commissioner as well as the municipality of Barcelona, which uses this system to control its pigeon population.”
Fava said the contraceptive administered would take some time to leave an impact but said the project’s impacts would start to be felt roughly three months after launch.
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