Friday, December 21, 2007

Pigeon-Ban Pusher Addresses Community Board 12 Meeting

12/13/2007
Pigeon-ban pusher:‘I like pigeons’
By Matthew Wolfe
Courier Life Publications

City Councilmember Simcha Felder addresses CB 12 at a recent meeting.

City Councilmember Simcha Felder explained his rationale behind penalizing the public feeding of pigeons at a Community Board 12 meeting last week. Citing messiness and health danger, Felder said that while he supported the existence of pigeons he felt it important to keep their population growth in check.

“The proposal that I put forward is to ban feeding pigeons in public places” said Felder. “We don’t intend to eliminate pigeons in New York City or in the rest of the world.” Felder said he wouldn’t restrict the feeding of pigeons on private proper, he has reportedly said that he would like a $1,000 fine for the feeding of pigeons in public.

Felder has not yet introduced a bill, but has reportedly said that he will do in some time in December.

Felder suggested that he had scaled down his proposals from those offered in the report.

While Felder’s report recommends promoting the breeding of hawks to curb the pigeon population and the deployment of pigeon birth control - as well as appointing a city “Pigeon Czar” – he said at the meeting that he was currently “not into discussing” contraception and hawks but was only emphasizing the limitation of the bird’s food source.

The ASPCA and PETA, the animals organization, support his plan, Felder said, although for different reasons. The groups say that over-population is harmful to the species.

Communicable health risks involving pigeons all stem from contact with their excrement, Felder said. A recent report released by his office that outlined the reasons behind his plan, says the droppings can host such as ornithosis, encephalitis, Newcastle disease, cryptococcosis, toxoplasmosis, salmonella food poisoning and histoplasmosis. The reports says while the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene consider pigeon droppings to be only a nuisance, their literature cites the threat several diseases in the stool.

Due to the corrosive nature of their droppings, pigeons are estimated to cause approximately 1.1 billion in damage nationwide annually, the report said. According to a recent study, pigeons leave approximately 25 pounds of excrement over the course of a single year, or slightly more than one ounce a day. Pigeons are sufficiently supplied with food left out for them that they are unable to consume all of it. The remainder, Felder said, is often eaten by rats, allowing them to procreate and prosper.

Felder acknowledged to the Borough Park/Kensington residents present that while some may regard the blessings bestowed by the pigeons atop the elevated F-line as a good omen, he said others are less sanguine about receiving such a benediction.

1 comment:

Elana said...

Thank you for this article! So many writers want to make Felder out to be a total moron just for entertainment's sake but he has very good reasons for wanting to curb the pigeon population.