Challenge Alert

Lock in $15,000 with your donation by 6:30 p.m.

Donate now

Pigeon shoot in Reading reignites efforts to ban mass killing of birds

Live pigeon shoots continue in Pennsylvania, much to the frustration of some animal activists. A shoot is scheduled to run through this weekend at Wing Pointe, a shooting facility near Reading.

 

Activists call the shoots cruel and say they’ve rescued wounded birds from the shoots — in which pigeons are launched into the air and participants compete to see who can shoot down the most birds.

 

Heidi Prescott, with the Humane Society of the United States, said because other states don’t allow the shoots, people travel across state lines to shoot at the Pennsylvania clubs.

“Pennsylvania stands alone as one of the only states where pigeon shoots are openly and regularly held,” Prescott said. After 25 years, “it is time for the Pennsylvania Legislature to end this cruelty that has more in common with animal fighting than it has with hunting,” she said.

Fans of pigeon shoots defend it as an activity comparable to hunting. Organizers of the pigeon shoot in Reading did not return multiple calls for comment.

A state bill to ban pigeon shoots has bipartisan supporters, including state Senator Daylin Leach who calls pigeon shoots, “Horrifically cruel events that are an antiquated relic of a day gone by when we didn’t know or care that animals are sentient beings that feel pain.”

The state legislation to ban pigeon shoots has bipartisan supporters, but so far this year it has not been scheduled for a vote.  A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said the lawmaker  supports the legislation but would like to have a discussion with his fellow Republican lawmakers before a vote.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.