"The first thing I ever loved in my life was a pigeon." -- Mike Tyson.
"If Mike Tyson truly loved birds, he would fight for their protection -- not force them into a 'race' that tears them away from their families and subjects them to injuries, exhaustion, and death." -- PETA Vice President Lisa Lang
In one corner, we have heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson, who has loved breeding and raising pigeons since childhood. In fact, Tyson reportedly threw his first punch many years ago when a neighborhood bully killed one of his beloved pigeons.
In the other corner, we have animal-rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), who clearly believes that raising pigeons is about on par with, say, tattooing a giant crazy-pants swirly deal across your face.
A group of PETA members plans to gather outside Mike Tyson's gated community in Henderson, Nevada on Monday to protest the former fighter's pigeon-racing television show Taking on Tyson, which debuted last night on Animal Planet.
Yes. Mike Tyson has a television show about pigeon racing.
PETA says that pigeons forced to race are taken as many as 500 miles away from their mates -- mates with whom they form loyal, lifelong bonds. In order to most accurately get this disturbing message across with the greatest impact possible, PETA members have announced they will be holding signs that read, "Mike Doesn't Give Pigeons a Fighting Chance" and "Featherweights: No Match for a Heavyweight."
(HA HA GOOD ONE PETA THAT'S PUNNY!)
(I mean oh wait that's incredibly tragic, right? What am I supposed to be feeling here, PETA?)
Animal Planet had no immediate response to the protest, probably because they're too busy giving each other high-fives that now, finally, someone's heard about this damn show.
I admit I don't know a lot about pigeon racing, but it seems to me that people who are really, really into it are probably really, really into their pigeons, and subsequently don't treat them with cruelty. But hey, this IS Mike Tyson we're talking about, so ... has anyone checked these pigeons for ear bites?
What do you think about the controversy?
Image via Animal Planet