City Residents in Germany Approve Mass Pigeon Extermination

For animal rights organizations, it's a “flayer” plan

Un'attivista dell'Associazione tedesca per la protezione degli animali invita a votare per l'abrogazione del piano, volto a sterminare i piccioni

Many countries of the Old Continent took advantage of the recent European elections to organize legislative elections (Bulgaria), as well as various popular referendums. In Limburg an der Lahn, a small German city of about 36,000 people some fifty kilometers northwest of Frankfurt, a local referendum held in conjunction with European elections on Sunday, June 9, determined that the entire population of pigeons, between 700 and 1000 species, living in the German city, should be exterminated.

The referendum follows a decision by the City Council of Limburg an der Lahn last November 13 to approve a plan to eradicate a population of pigeons that “inhabit public spaces, often causing filth.” The plan particularly envisions that the poor pigeons “will be lured into a trap from which they have no chance of escaping, only to be stunned by a blow to the head and finally killed by breaking their necks.”

The proposal by German city officials shocked German and international animal rights organizations, which branded the plan “an extraordinary demonstration of cruelty” and proposed a referendum, convinced that the decision of the Limburg an der Lahn City Council should be overturned. The German Animal Welfare Association also opposed it and, in cooperation with many other animal rights groups, launched an information campaign to convince some 26,000 eligible voters in Limburg an der Lahn to vote “yes” to repeal the bloody plan, i.e. to oppose the killing of the pigeons.

But no: 53.45% of voters approved the City Council’s “flayer plan,” which calls for the mass extermination of pigeons over the next two years. The Citizens’ Movement Against Pigeon Killing commented on the outcome of the vote, calling it “a terrible day for animal rights.” According to critics, “culling pigeons is not an effective population reduction strategy” also because some studies have shown that in various cases, pigeons have been able to recover their population even after interventions of this type.

And as the German press wrote in recent days, “some European countries, including Switzerland, used an alternative method to reduce the population of pigeons: build special pigeon houses, from which then easily remove laid eggs, after which the population of pigeons halved in four years.”