Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Animal rights activists have complained after officials from the Wimbledon tennis tournament shot down pigeons, allegedly because they were an inconvenience to players. This move was possibly illegal under Animal Welfare Act 2006, which prevents using lethal force unless it is used as a last resort.


Wikinews spoke to Bruce Friedrich, Vice President of PETA, which has campaigned against the move. He said that “killing animals so quickly and for such frivolous reasons is cruel, illegal, and won’t work.”

Wikinews has also been told by Friedrich that “the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club should still be prosecuted for cruelty to animals, since they broke the law and should be held accountable.”

Violation of the Animal Welfare act carries a maximum sentence of “imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks” or a fine “not exceeding £20,000”

Wikinews has also been given a copy of the letter sent to Wimbledon officials. Below is the text of the first paragraph:

I am writing to you from the European affiliate of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the world’s largest animal rights organisation, with more than two million members and supporters, to ask that if this morning’s reports of marksmen killing pigeons at Wimbledon are correct, you order an immediate halt to this cruel and illegal behavior.

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (which runs the Wimbledon Championships) has not yet released a statement regarding the incident, although The Independent has reported that one will be made after the tournament.

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