Pigeons poisoned?

DEAD and moribund pigeons greeted city-goers in Forrest Place on Monday morning.

The Voice contacted Perth city council, the WA Health Department and Department of Parks and Wildlife, but they didn’t know if the birds have been poisoned.

In a widely-shared Facebook post, city worker Eisha-Marie Stone said she was “absolutely heartbroken walking through Forrest chase today, as all the pigeons have been baited. I understand they need to control the population, but fuck, I actually feel sick coming into work.

“You think you find a sick bird so you grab him a box and when you turn around there’s another seven writhing around on the pavement.”

• A pigeon in Forrest Place in Perth. Photo by Steve Grant

A Perth council spokesperson said they weren’t responsible for Monday’s poisoning, were investigating the incident, and had sent out rangers to collect the dead birds because passersby were getting distressed.

Ms Stone’s video shows the pigeons struggling and shaking in a manner that matches online footage we viewed of them being poisoned by nerve-affecting toxin, Avitrol.

Common poisons like rat bait or strychnine can also have a similar effect.

Perth council has tried pigeon baiting in the past: in 2005 former deputy mayor Bert Tudori was quoted in The Monthly as saying, “pigeons are all right in their place. I’m just not sure what that place is…they’re full of lice and germs, they poo everywhere. They shouldn’t be encouraged.”

• At the time of going to print, Eisha-Marie Stone’s account of the killing was shared on Facebook more than 1000 times.

Mr Tudori talked up the baiting program at the time, which involved feeding them poisoned seed, saying “the pigeons would be flying along and they’d just drop out of the air”.

Humane charity Animal Aid claims that pigeons in Perth were given sedatives in 1999 to make them easier to catch.

“Narcotics have been used to stupefy pigeons and make them easier to catch,” states the AA website.

“However, this culling method can have disastrous consequences, with drugged birds disrupting traffic and smashing into buildings.

“This happened in Perth, Australia in 1999. Narcotics and poison are both very inhumane as the pigeons taking the bait will die slowly and may suffer dehydration and hypothermia.”

The Voice did some investigation, but weren’t able to independently verify this account.

by DAVID BELL

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