Cruel pigeon-shooting sport banned in Portugal thanks to Portu­guese animal rights party PAN

9 april 2021

A historic win was achieved last week by the Portuguese political party PAN – Pessoas-Animais-Natureza (People-Animals-Nature), when it’s bill on banning live pigeon-shooting competitions was passed in Portuguese Parliament. “This bill puts an end to an anachronistic and cruel activity that violated the Portuguese Protection of Animals Law”, the party states: “Yet another victory for animal welfare!”

The pigeon-shooting ‘sport’ has been contested for decades in court by animal protection associations. Whereas it was abolished in its country of origin (England) as early as 1921, Portugal was one of the last countries to allow it - often in an almost clandestine way, far from the eyes of society, practiced under the cover of titles such as ‘target shooting’. This could not cover up the immense animal suffering involved in this ‘sport’.

As reports describe, the pigeons are raised in captivity, transported in inappropriate conditions and released into open fields with a single purpose: to be shot to death for the pleasure of those who practice this activity. In order to raise the challenge for competitors, the ‘targets’ are deprived of food and water for them to lose their sense of orientation, and have their tail feathers plucked in order to induce an erratic flight. Many pigeons are not instantaneously killed but end up dying slowly outside the shooting range, left behind without any assistance. The dogs that are used to collect the birds also often end up being hit by the snipers themselves.

Thanks to PAN’s perseverance the new bill will now finally put an end to this. Whereas a similar legislative initiative presented by PAN in 2018 was rejected, “this time, despite the vote against the bill by the usual conservative parties, the lobby didn’t win!”

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