Video footage showing dozens of pigeons lying dead on the ground and others limping was released Friday by an animal rights group that secretly filmed members of the Alabama Forestry Association taking part in a live pigeon shoot.
The video, which was shot legally from a drone, shows a man taking pigeons from a cage and throwing them into the air as participants circled the field waiting to shoot. Footage taken from the ground after the event was over shows close ups of pigeons limping, crawling, as well as many dead.
“We rescued as many as we could before nightfall,” said Steve Hindi, president and founder of Showing Animals Respect & Kindness (SHARK), an animal rights group based in Illinois. “It was heartbreaking to leave knowing so many more were out there suffering. These birds are not eaten. The wounded are left to die slow, painful deaths from their wounds, predation or starvation.”
“The people from the Alabama Forestry Association aren’t hunters – they’re sociopaths,” added Hindi.
The Alabama Forestry Association, which is an education and lobbying group, did not respond to messages from AL.com asking for comment.
D.J. Schubert, a wildlife biologist at the Animal Wildlife Institute in Washington D.C., said that in these types of shoots, that have no meaningful purpose, the pigeons often experience excruciating deaths after being wounded. “Many die from infection in the worst way,” said Schubert, who used to protest live pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania. “Hunters should be worried about their image because they look like thugs. Killing defenseless animals from close range for sport is not a good look.”
SHARK first heard about the pigeon shoot after a flier was given to them advertising the event, which was aimed at raising money for the Alabama Forestry Foundation, which is the education arm of the association. Tickets cost up to $1,000 a person.
SHARK collected the pigeons from the field in West Mobile and left them on land at the Alabama Forestry Association. It’s unclear what happened to then after that.
While there are a many Alabama laws that deal with cruelty against animals, it appears as if pigeon shooting is not illegal. There are also no federal laws that prohibit pigeon shooting. There are some laws that prohibit the killing of birds, but pigeons are exempt.
“Our argument, however, is that this does violate common decency as it causes extreme cruelty to living beings and is killing just for the sake of killing,” said Hindi. “If it isn’t illegal, it certainly should be.
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