Last week the administration of Agra banned pigeon racing in the district. The administration of Lucknow followed soon after. These are very important landmark decisions.
Animal welfare people run into trouble with those who refuse to look at the reality of things and believe what they have been fed. One of these areas is animal racing for sport; and of that, pigeon racing.
The pigeon has been presented as an animated kite. Pigeon racing is passed off as a traditional sport â€“ and only now, when the animal movement has picked up strength, through knowledge and the courage that comes with it, is the ugly truth coming to the surface.
Man likes to bet: whether with inanimate objects, like cards and dice, or human sports. It gives him an adrenalin rush. But traditional gaming can get boring, so he sets up new betting opportunities and these are usually animal based: dog fighting, dog racing, horse racing, cock fighting, pigeon racing, bulbul fighting, bull fighting, buffalo racing... even cockroach racing. Animals, who have not got a drop of vicious blood, in them are turned into killers and competitors and all of them die. Some are killed by their owners because they lose races, others die of wounds in these competitions.
Pigeon racing, or kabootarbaazi, is a sport done by one society who believe that it was done by the Mughal rulers and it shows their past glory. The rest of India has paid little attention to it, thinking that it is a harmless game and that pigeons return home as they have an uncanny sense of what home is.