Update: Following PETA's groundbreaking exposť and in response to the detailed complaint submitted to authorities, local police have raided the largest pigeon racing club in Taiwan, brought club officials to the station for questioning, confiscated thousands of dollars as well as computers and other equipment used for races, and frozen nearly $4 million dollars of apparent illegal gambling proceeds in the club's bank account. The tens of thousands of bird deaths per racing season are still being investigated by authorities for violation of Taiwan's cruelty-to-animals laws.
In Taiwan, millions of pigeons are forced to fly over the open ocean—even in typhoon-strength winds and for long distances as part of extreme pigeon races, exposed in PETA's new undercover investigation.
Why is this cruel?
Think about it: Pigeons can't survive these long flights over open water, where they have no place to land and rest as they fly as fast as they can for hours on end. Most of the time, less than 1 percent of these highly intelligent and sensitive birds complete the seasonal seven-race series, meaning that many fall out of the sky into the water and drown from exhaustion, die during storms, or are killed for being too slow before the next race even starts.
During PETA's investigation, top racers and high-ranking club officials admitted to deadly conditions for the birds, who fly through heavy rainstorms with untreated injuries and without enough rest between races.
PETA investigators captured video of a race in which tens of thousands of birds disappeared in a matter of hours and were presumed to have drowned.
Even birds who survive these extreme conditions may be killed or discarded by their owners afterwards if they don't make the qualifying time for the next race in the series.
The heartbreaking truth
Pigeons are smart, gentle, loyal birds. They mate for life and can live to be more than 20 years old! Yet almost all the birds who begin their lives as racing pigeons in Taiwan die or are killed in their first year of life.
SPEAK UP! Use your voice to help end these races
Ask Wang Cho-chiun, Taiwan's director-general of the National Police Agency, to investigate the cruelty and billions of dollars in illegal bets and untaxed winnings associated with pigeon racing in Taiwan.