Saturday, August 29, 2015

PA Senate expected to take historic vote on pigeon shoots

Legislation to end live pigeon shoots is poised for a critical vote in the state Senate tonight.

PA Senate expected to take historic vote on pigeon shoots


Legislation to end live pigeon shoots is poised for a critical vote in the state Senate tonight.

But expect a showdown ahead of the historic vote because the National Rifle Association has animal advocates - and their supporters in the legislature - in its sites.

The bill - which passed out of a Senate committee last week with GOP support - would make it illegal to stage pigeon shoots. During the events - still held at private gun clubs in Berks and Bucks counties - pigeons are launched one at a time from spring-loaded boxes or flushed en masse from free-standing boxes where they are shot at close range by shooters vying for cash and prizes.

The birds that die are collected and dumped in bins. Many wounded birds fly away to die a slow death. Others are picked up or kicked by "trapper boys" and,  in some cases, thrown to the ground and stomped on.

The NRA has sent alerts to members for them to call their legislators and tell them that pigeon shoots are a "traditional shooting sport." The alerts claim that the anti-pigeon shoot campaign is being fueled by out of state "animal rights extremists."

In fact, the Humane Society of the United States, which has led the effort to stop the shoots in Pennsylvania for two decades, counts thousands of supporters in Pennsylvania and has conducted polls showing wide support statewide for a ban. A number of the license plates observed at pigeon shoots are from New Jersey and other states.

In one alert the NRA said halting pigeon shoots will create a "slippery slope" that one day would mean the end  to all recreational hunting.

Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery), a supporter of the bill, called the slippery slope argument "the last refuge of someone with no better argument."

Other states that have banned shoots haven't banned other hunting," he said.  "it's a desperate tactic to scare people which is all they are quipped to do."

The infamous Hegins pigeon shoot held annually for 65 years in Schuylkill County - where hundreds of birds were indiscriminately slaughtered over Labor Day weekend before large crowds - was shut down by a lawsuit in 1998.

Now private clubs, including the Philadelphia Gun Club in Bensalem, hold shoots for small groups of members out of public view.

The pigeon shoot ban language was attached to a bill (HB 1750) that would prohibit the sale and slaughter of dogs and cats for food which had passed the House unanimously.

Inquirer Staff Writer
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Amy Worden Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter