A German city council has given the green light to kill pigeons by breaking their necks.
The City Council in Limburg, the German state of Hesse, has voted in favour of the controversial method of controlling the pigeon population in the city.
But it still needs to be determined whether it is even legal.
The idea is that an expert falcon handler would lure in the pigeons using the bird of prey before stunning them with a blow to the head and breaking their necks.
The city of Limburg said in a statement on 14th November: “On Monday, 13th November, the Limburg city council decided not to set up pigeon houses to act as ‘birth control’ for the birds.
“The city council voted by a clear majority to hire a falconer. In July, a falconer presented the method to the environmental committee, according to which the animals are caught, stunned and then killed.
“According to the resolution, an experience report will be released after two years.
“The representatives of the factions that spoke out in favour of this solution [CDU, SPD, FDP] were convinced that the pigeon population would be reduced within two years to such an extent that another overpopulation could then be avoided using other methods.
“According to the majority, the pigeon population in Limburg is so high that urgent action needs to be taken to protect people and buildings.
“Before the decision can be implemented, a legal review of the proposed procedure is planned, involving the responsible veterinary office.
“At the meeting, the Green Party proposed an amendment according to which the pigeon population should be controlled using pigeon houses and ‘birth control’ [removal of clutches and replacement of eggs with plastic eggs].
“The motion only received the support of the applicant group.
“According to the Hessian municipal code, it is the task of the magistrate to implement this decision and, if necessary, to award a corresponding order.
“The magistrate will first take steps towards a legal review. It is important to clarify whether the decision can withstand legal review or whether it contradicts applicable laws.”
The animal rights organisation PETA has reacted with outrage and is threatening the file a criminal complaint if the move goes ahead.
PETA said in a statement: “It is absolutely incomprehensible why the city of Limburg would make such a backwards decision.”
Local media has reported that the method is the cruellest possible and that other solutions exist such as replacing the bird’s eggs with dummy eggs.
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