This City Fair Uses Live Pigeons as Bowling Balls

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: Harrow Fair Board and the Mayor and Council of Essex, Ontario
Animal rights activists and decent human beings around the world are asking for heads to roll after video of a live "pigeon rolling" contest recently went viral.

The Harrow Fair in Essex, Ontario, Canada is more than 155 years old, but it has now caught the ire of the public for one of their most popular events. The "pigeon rolling" contest is a "game" in which people attempt to roll a live pigeon across the ground. The person who's pigeon rolls the farthest wins.

In the video, a kid donning a tie-dye T-shirt, shorts and glasses, walks up to a green box and pulls out a white pigeon in his hand. He then takes a few steps to the starting line and winds up and then rolls the poor bird across the grass as if it were a bowling ball. Next, to the contestant a woman with a clipboard jots down notes, presumedly scoring the young boys throw. The pigeon rolls over several times, flapping its wings and then comes to a stop and stands up properly looking utterly confused. In the background, you can hear the oohs and awes of the onlooking crowd.

One of those onlookers was a woman named Jo Bloom who was so disturbed by the event that she took the video in question and uploaded it online in protest. She called the spectacle "absolutely horrific" and showing "blatant disrespect and cruelty for animals."

After hearing pushback, the fair organizers have defended the sport saying that the birds are roller pigeons and roll naturally. They further explain that the event simply showcases their natural ability. Roller pigeons do indeed roll, but they do so in the air when they want to, not when they are rolled across the hard ground by a person.

Their defense of the pigeon rolling contest is baseless, to say the least, and tells us just how far a community that abuses animals in the name of tradition will go to defend it.

Sadly, organizers seem to be more resolute than ever that the "show must go on" and likely plan to continue the contest next year. That is unless we can convince them and the town of Essex otherwise.

Please sign the petition and tell the Harrow Fair Board and the Mayor and Council of Essex to ban pigeon rolling contests now.
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