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September 27, 2010

Ending Pennsylvania's Shame

Countdown to ending cruel pigeon shoots

  • How much longer will Pennsylvania have to wait for a ban on pigeon shoots? iStockphoto

It's way past time for Pennsylvania's legislature to act, and only two weeks remain.

The state is the only one in the union to openly allow pigeon shoots, a form of cruelty for kicks in which competitors shoot at confused pigeons launched from boxes. The birds don't stand much of a chance, and up to 70 percent of them suffer wounds for hours or days before dying.

This cruelty could be history, if the legislature brought a bill up for a vote before the sessions ends.

Calls for change

W. Scott Yoder, an NRA member on the Humane Society of Berks County board of directors, reminisced about his boyhood memories of pigeon shoots and recalled that they seemed wrong even back then. Although animal champions are, of course, in favor of banning pigeon shoots, the calls for action come from all quarters.

To awaken legislators to the issue, newspapers around the state have been urging a ban on this thoughtless amusement. Pigeon shoots, the Lebanon Daily News noted, "carry all the sport of dogfighting or cockfighting." The Patriot-News bluntly asked the state to "[e]nd this animal cruelty," observing that "supporters try to tie the practice to hunting. But true sportsmen know shooting a bird from a launch or one that is tethered is not real hunting."

Walter Brasch, in a column published by Daily Kos and a number of other outlets, highlighted the decades-long struggle to ban pigeon shoots. At this point he is pointedly "hunting for courageous legislators" to ban pigeon shoots. We hope he finds enough to get this legislation passed.

Live in Pennsylvania?

Many people are wondering why Pennsylvania lawmakers haven't acted yet. You, as a Pennsylvania resident, are the missing piece of the puzzle. Please contact your legislators—we make it easy—and urge passage of the pigeon shoot ban.

Then, ask your friends and family in Pennsylvania to do the same, and don't let the state legislature fly the coop without banning pigeon shoots.

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