Video of Hougang pigeon culling shows dying poisoned pigeons stuffed alive into trash bags
The pigeons were treated like inanimate objects.
A Facebook video by Acres (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society Singapore) posted on April 9, 2019, provided a first hand look at the reality of how pigeons are culled in Singapore.
Here’s the video:
*WARNING: The video below may be distressing to some*
Stuffing pigeons into trash bags
The video shows numerous pigeons sitting motionless on the ground, supposedly after having been poisoned.
Workers, reportedly engaged by the town council, approached with a large black trash bag in hand, and put the live pigeons in the bag.
The pigeons put up little fight, although some tried to lethargically fly away — whatever poison they were allegedly fed seemed to have taken effect.
Another clip in the video shows a worker kicking a pigeon into the dustpan he was holding, and then shovelling the pigeon into the trash bag.
One pigeon also seemed to have its wing injured, with the appendage hanging limp, and the bird struggling on the floor.
Viewers can even see the pigeons writhing around inside the black trash bags.
It is unsure how exactly the pigeons were poisoned. However in previous culling exercises, pigeons were ‘baited’ with poisoned food thrown on the ground.
Facebook users shocked and angry
Many of the comments flooding the post have been of shock and anger at the treatment of the birds.
One woman chimed in with her own experience where she witnessed the actual culling taking place in Hougang, saying she saw pigeons dropping from the skies and getting run over by cars.
This isn’t the first time residents have been up in arms about the inhumane nature of bird culling.
A recent culling exercise for mynahs where a tree with the roosting birds was enclosed and then pumped with carbon dioxide, was carried out in December 2018.
It caused an uproar among netizens questioning the morality of such an exercise.
Don’t feed the pigeons
Pigeon culling is usually carried out in response to feedback or complaints by residents—many often find their droppings unsightly, and the pigeons a nuisance, reported CNA.
Although culling may seem to be a simple be-all and end-all solution to decreasing pigeon populations, a less inhumane route would be to simply avoid feeding pigeons.
This was something Acres also highly discouraged in their Facebook post.
According to CNA, contrary to the good that feeders may think they are doing, feeding pigeons would only result in large congregations of the birds in one area.
Feeding also encourages the birds to breed, and is thus one of the main contributors to their population growth.
Anyone caught feeding pigeons can be fined up to S$500 under the Animals and Birds (Pigeons) Rule.
Food waste improperly disposed of could potentially be another source of food for pigeons too.
Acres filing cruelty case
Acres also stated in their Facebook post that they would be filing a cruelty case to investigate the way the birds were handled.
The group also urged viewers to write to their respective town councils and voice out against such culling measures.
But perhaps if a culture of consideration and conscientiousness is cultivated, where residents do not needlessly throw food out to the birds, or leave their food waste lying around, we might see less saddening sights like of that in Hougang.
Birth control for pigeons
A more humane alternative to pigeon culling was also conceived in Vancouver, Canada.
.@TransLink is putting pigeons on the pill. This feeder, newly installed behind VCC-Clark Station, will dispense birth control to the pigeons. They say it's "non-toxic, effective and humane." @GlobalBC pic.twitter.com/ZoIJkQW9hZ
— Jordan Armstrong (@jarmstrongbc) February 7, 2019
The birth control is reportedly non-toxic, and studies have shown that pigeon populations managed by OvoControl have decreased by 50 to 90 per cent.
The method has been lauded by wildlife and animal groups.
Maybe this could be a viable alternative that could be applied here.
[Updated on April 10, 2019 at 9:41pm]
In response to Mothership’s queries, Jessica Kwok, group director of the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) under the National Parks Board (Nparks), said in a statement that the board is currently in contact with the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council regarding the incident.
Guidelines dictate that pest companies contracted must carry out the culling process humanely and “not result in any form of cruelty to the bird(s)”.
Property management staff should also be present to supervise the pest control staff throughout the entire operation.
Any pigeons that do not die on-site must also be removed from the site and put down humanely using carbon dioxide gas.
NParks has also revealed that Acres has sent a report to AVS regarding the cruelty of the culling operations, and are studying the details.
Top photo from Acres, Facebook