PETA blasts Hannibal's plan to kill pigeon pests

Animal rights organization PETA sent a letter to Hannibal Mayor Roy Hark and City Manager Jeff LaGarce regarding the pigeon plan.

Animal rights organization PETA is urging the City of Hannibal to abandon its plan to poison pigeons around downtown businesses and civic buildings.

In a letter addressed to Mayor Roy Hark and City Manager Jeff LaGarce, PETA's senior cruelty caseworker Kristin Simon says the method the city wants to use to kill the birds is not as pain-free as promised.

â??Respectfully, the use of avicides (bird poisons) is extremely cruel,â?? the letter says. â??They attack and impair the nervous system, causing disorientation, erratic flight, tremors, and convulsions before an agonizing death.â??

The City Council discussed the plan earlier this week after downtown business owners and residents lodged complaints about large flocks of pigeons living in taller buildings. If the city moves forward with the program, the plan is to set traps baited with corn at first, and eventually poison.

LaGarce said Wednesday that he fielded a number of complaints about the proposal. The company that the city would contract with to kill the birds also backed out.

â??PETA also points out that the reported $4,280 total cost of the plan to city taxpayers would be better spent on proven, nonlethal methods of bird control â?? including a citywide ban on feeding wildlife,â?? the organization's press release said.

â??Please know that removing or killing birds will only backfire,â?? Simon wrote. â??A spike in the food supply results, and this prompts accelerated breeding among survivors and newcomers. You will see increased populations.â??

Click here to open and read the original letter in Microsoft Word.

PETA also offered a number of alternative plans the city could follow including:

Installing anti-roosting products like bird spikes, slides and coils.

Install statues of natural predators and sonic devices to discourage roosting. Mylar streamers, flags and balloons also work to keep birds away, according to the press release.

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