But is this the solution? – Executive Digest

Pigeons in most European squares evoke different feelings: on the one hand they evoke a more loving instinct in those who are willing to feed the animals, while there are those who feel disgust and irritation towards people. But there is one German city where this relationship has taken a more serious turn, reports the ‘Euronews’ website.

Limburg an der Lahn in the Hesse state of West Germany has voted to cull its population of 700 pigeons. A referendum was held on the 9th – the same day as the European elections – after the city council’s decision to cull the birds in November 2023 proved controversial.

According to the newspaper ‘Der Spiegel’, the referendum resulted in a favorable vote from 53% of residents who were in favor of culling the pigeons. “The result was unexpected for us. Citizens exercised their right and decided that the animals should be killed by a falconer”, highlights Mayor Marius Hahn.

That was the method initially proposed by the House last year, and the question before voters was simply whether the decision should stand. More precisely, the hawk lures the birds into a trap, hits them over the head with a wooden stick, and then breaks their necks.

The announcement of the project came as a shock among activists. “We cannot kill animals just because they disturb us or give us trouble. This is not acceptable,” said Tanya Müller, manager of the Pigeon Slaughter Program in Limburg, speaking to the English on ‘Sky News’.

Is killing pigeons the best way to reduce the population?

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Critics say that in addition to being cruel, culling pigeons is not really effective because the remaining birds reproduce and replenish the population. Studies have shown that the number of pigeons increases even after a slaughter.

That’s what happened in Basel, Switzerland. Between 1961 and 1985, the city killed about 100,000 pigeons a year, but the population remained stable, according to a local news website.

A group called ‘Pigeon Action’ came up with an alternative solution, now known as the “Basal Model”, in which citizens were warned not to feed the animals. Pigeon lofts were also installed for easy removal of eggs. As a result, the number of Basel pigeons decreased by 50% in four years.

How are European cities solving their pigeon problems?

The Bavarian city of Augsburg found a similar solution. A local animal protection organization oversees several pigeon lofts to keep pigeon populations under control, exchanging fresh eggs for pacifiers.

Many German cities are plagued by these gray birds. Kaiserslautern is experimenting with the “Augsburg model”, rehousing birds with new pigeon towers. Pigeon houses or controlled nesting sites have also been installed in Ludwigshafen, Mainz, Pirmasens and Zweibrücken.

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