German town votes to kill all pigeons

The decision has caused outrage among animal rights campaigners

FILE PHOTO. Pigeons © Getty Images / max Sisodia;  500px

Residents of Limburg-an-der-Lahn have voted to wipe out every single pigeon in the German town, claiming the bird population has grown out of control and become a severe nuisance.

According to the news outlet Der Spiegel, the local administration has been flooded with complaints about the flying pests, whose numbers surged during the Coronavirus pandemic. Residents say the birds’ droppings are wreaking havoc on outdoor restaurant areas and fouling up balconies. 

In a public referendum held on Sunday, the same day that Germans voted in the EU Parliament election, over 53% of the town’s population – a total of 7,530 people – supported a mass cull of the pigeons. The results, according to Mayor Marius Hahn, were “unexpected.”

“The citizens have made use of their right and decided that the animals should be reduced by a falconer,” Hahn told Der Spiegel.

The chosen method of eliminating the birds, which was originally proposed by the town’s council last year, involves the use of a falconer who will be tasked with luring the pigeons into a trap, hitting them over the head with a wooden stick to stun them, and then breaking their necks.

READ MORE: Serial bird-feeder fined $3,000

The cull is set to be carried out over the next two years.

Meanwhile, the city administration has also proposed setting up special “pigeon houses” where the birds would be encouraged to make their nests while their eggs would be replaced with dummies made of plaster and plastic. However, Berthold Geis, the falconer hired for the culling, has argued that this method would not work – and would instead attract more animals from surrounding areas.

Limburg’s decision has caused outrage among animal rights groups, which have called the town’s administration a “gang of murderers” and “human scum” and reportedly even issued death threats to the falconer hired to carry out the cull.

“We live in 2023, it can’t be that we kill animals just because they annoy us, or they’re a nuisance. That’s not acceptable,” Limburg city pigeon project manager Tanya Muller told Sky News last year when the town initially made the proposal.


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