Pigeons are not a Health Hazard

No matter who you hear it from

In a word 'NO'!

All wild birds have the potential to pass on diseases to other birds and to
human beings but the chances of this happening are a million to one, certainly
in the case of human beings. Pigeons are no more likely to transmit diseases
to human beings than any other species of wild bird.

Why then do we read horror stories in the media every day about the 60 or 70
fatal diseases that pigeons are capable of transmitting to human beings?
Because the pest control industry and those that have a vested commercial
interest in controlling pigeons have a very efficient propaganda machine
constantly churning out scare stories designed to sell their products. Pest
control is a multi-billion pound industry worldwide and culling pigeons and
selling proofing products represents a large proportion of the profits within
this industry. Because scientific research has proved that culling pigeons is
a completely ineffective method of control the pest control industry has to
scare the public into believing that they need to be concerned about pigeons.
The best way to do that is to link pigeons with diseases.

We read more and more reports about scientific and medical research programmes proving the links between pigeons and disease in human beings. What we do not ask and what we are never told is who funds these research programmes? Could it be the pest control industry? It seems that invariably this is the case. If hese research programmes are funded by the industry that benefits from the control of the species that is being researched (in this case pigeons) can we really believe the statistics that we read?

What we do know, however, is that the real experts all agree that there is no
tangible health risk to human beings from contact with pigeons:

ï Mike Everett, spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
said, in The Big Issue Magazine, February 2001: "The whole 'rats with wings'
thing is just emotive nonsense. There is no evidence to show that they
(pigeons) spread disease.î

ï The Chief Veterinary Officer, when addressing the House of Lords in 2000 on the issue of pigeons in Trafalgar Square was asked if the large number of
pigeons in the Square represented a health risk to human beings. The Chief
Veterinary Officer told The House that in his opinion they did not.

ï Charlotte Donnelly, an American bird control expert told the Cincinnati
Environment Advisory Council in her report to them: "The truth is that the
vast majority of people are at little or no health risk from pigeons and
probably have a greater chance of being struck by lightening than contracting
a serious disease from pigeons."

ï Guy Merchant, Director of The Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PICAS) says,
when talking about the transmission of disease by pigeons: "If we believed
everything we read in the media about pigeons and the farcical propaganda
distributed by the pest control industry we would never leave our homes. The
fact of the matter is that there is probably a greater risk to human health
from contact with domestic pets such as cats, dogs and caged birds."

ï David A Palmer (B.V.Sc., M.R.C.V.S) said in an article entitled 'Pigeon Lung
Disease Fatality and Health Risk from Ferals': "Obviously, since all these
Allergic Extrinsic Alveolitis disease syndromes rely on the involved person
having a very specific allergy before any disease, involving respiratory
distress and very unusually death, can possibly be seen, it really makes
absolute nonsense for a popular daily newspaper to suggest that pigeons
present a health hazard and presumably need eliminating for the well-being of
the nationís health.î

ï The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, the New York City Department of
Health, and the Arizona Department of Health all agree that diseases
associated with pigeons present little risk to people. ìWe have never
documented a pigeon to human transmission in the state of Arizona,î said Mira J Leslie, Arizonaís state public health veterinarian.

If there was any real chance of pigeons spreading disease to human beings we
would see epidemics amongst pigeon fanciers that race pigeons and spend much of their time in dusty pigeon lofts. We would also see all those involved with the rehabilitation of pigeons in wildlife hospitals worldwide dropping like
flies. The facts speak for themselves. Pigeons do not spread disease and if we
need to get rid of pigeons on the basis of the fact that there is 'potential'
for them to pass on diseases to human beings then we need to get rid of all
feral birds. At the end of the day 99% of so called 'pigeon problems' are, in
reality, people problems. It is human beings that create the waste upon which
pigeons feed and if we cleaned up our act we would have considerably less
pigeons to worry about. So is it really the feral pigeon that is vermin?