Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, is proposing a $15,000 plan to kill off 20 pigeons. That adds up to $750 per head. If our calculations are correct, killing a pigeon a day at that price will net you a yearly salary of about $142,000, after taxes. What did these pigeons do, take compromising pictures of the mayor with his blonde secretary?
The plan is to hire an agency that will trap the birds and then gas them to death. The funniest (or is it the most depressing?) thing about all of this is that nothing about the proposed plan suggests that it will be a permanent solution. The birds are roosting underneath a viaduct, and their droppings are spreading disease and creating unsightly stains. If this flock is taken out, there isn’t anything stopping a new set of pigeons from moving in on the suddenly available prime real estate.
Martin Mersereau of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals warned that if they euthanize the pigeons then “You end up with more pigeons and an expensive, cruel and endless kill cycle.” The reason is, he added, is that killing the birds will leave more food for surviving pigeons and attract newcomers.
Neighboring communities use spikes, nets, and falcons (pigeons’ natural predator) to help curb the proliferation of pigeons. All of those options sound much more appealing then giving a briefcase full of money stacks to a government-sanctioned pigeon assassin.
Alas, what a waste of tax dollars. If only we could come up with a solution that could reduce the cost of killing these birds to about 30 cents per bird.