Friday, February 1, 2008

Pigeon Control is a License to Print Money

Opinion
New York Bird Club and Pigeon Supporters
Re: Queens Courier Newspaper Article
Contact: editorial@queenscourier.com
lparajos@queenscourier.com

The late President Richard M. Nixon:
"I was not lying. I said things that later on seemed to be untrue."


Nothing sums the situation up better than the last reply submitted by the Queens Courier:
"THANK YOU. WE SIMPLY HATE PIGEONS."

"One thing is certain: pigeon control is worth billions, says Guy Merchant, director of UK-based Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PiCAS), a non-profit aiming to debunk the propaganda of the pest-control companies.

“It’s really a licence to print money,” says Merchant. While killing part of a pigeon population gives the impression that their numbers are reduced, he says in reality it increases the culled population by 15 to 30 per cent."

Source

____________________________________

A newspaper article recently written by Elana Moriarty, a media correspondent for a pigeon control company, has became a topic of disgust among our distribution list of pigeon lovers and supporters.

Although written under Opinion, it more appropriately should have been written under Advertisements, since it may be a Paid Advertisement.

The opinion "article" gives inaccurate and false information concerning pigeons and is nothing more than a blatant advertisement for pigeon control. Because the distorted article is not published as an advertisement, it is misleading in that the public may misconstrue it as fact.

The writer implies that the Minnesota Bridge incident was caused by pigeons, and it has been proven otherwise; the same for disease.

It is our intention to clear up the inaccuracies written by a saleswoman for a pigeon control company. These are exactly the types of articles that perpetuate lies and false myths about pigeons.

See email correspondence and rebuttals that follow below. Also note the dim witted replies by a representative of the Queens Courier.

Related Queens Courier article:
Pigeons are nuisance to local businesses
By Tonia N. Cimino
Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Local Councilmember Joseph Addabbo says he was alerted to the problem recently.“I’m on it,” he assured The Courier Sun. “The droppings can be a deterrent to shoppers. I have been in contact with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) [and other city agencies], and we are working with the city to do something. I am hopeful that by the spring of 2008 or so something will be done.” Addabbo explained that, “the city contracts with licensed exterminators to put up ‘needles’ to keep the pigeons from congregating.

Submissions to the Queens Courier:

Donald Jenner, Ph.D.
http://www.jenner.org/

In the January 23 number of Queens Courier, you publish an article by someone who works for a local exterminator agency, one Elana Moriarty. It would be helpful to note the errors in this article.

Moriarty claims "Ocular histoplasmosis, a fungal infection that eats away at the eyeball is just one of over sixty diseases that birds can transfer to humans." Histoplasmosis is caused by a common soil fungus; all gardeners are exposed to this regulary (it helps their plants grow).

The New York City Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene observes that "high exposure" — more than usual cleanup activities, occurring only when very lazy people have let years of accumulation build up — is necessary for the spores in bird droppings to infect people. Ordinary care — hand washing after cleanup, e. g. — is more than adequate caution.

Moriarty claims "Directly after last summer’s collapse of the Minnesota Bridge, readers heard about the structural damage that droppings and their acidic nature can cause." This canard was lofted by the rather foolish Simcha Felder, from the city's 44th councilmanic district; he has acknowledged deliberately misquoting his putative source, who has denied any such claim. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and other investigators have found that the bridge collapse resulted from poor engineering and the use of inadequate truss-plates.

Moriarty claims "Still, beyond avian flu and West Nile virus, diseases from birds are often glossed over." Avian flu has yet to be transmitted to the Americas. There is limited evidence that pigeons are vulnerable to avian flu in any case; one reputable scientist observes "Pigeons do not get avian influenza and don't carry the virus." [Dr. Cornelius Kiley, DVM, Canadian Food Inspection Agency] The evidence on West Nile Virus is mixed, but the most recent data indicates that pigeons, in particular, are neither vectors in themselves nor resevoirs for this disease. Moriarty has a litany of diseases that she trots out, presumably as reasons to employ the exterminators that employ her.

Contrary to the claims of this press release, published as if real in the Queens Courier, it is good to consider the view of public health scientists:
"The New York City Department of Health has no documented cases of communicable disease transmitted from pigeons to humans." - Dr. Manuel Vargas, New York City Department of Health.
"Pigeons are not a public health hazard. Nobody in public health is losing any sleep over pigeons." - Dr. Joel McCullough, Medical Director, Environmental Health, Chicago Department of Public Health.
"[...the Arizona Department of Health Services does] not have any documented human cases of disease which have been definitively linked to outdoor pigeons or pigeon droppings. When cases of diseases are reported (and by law [certain bird related zoonoses are] reportable diseases), VBZD staff conduct complete investigations to confirm the diagnosis and identify the source of infection. …Our case investigation data gathered so far, would suggest that pigeons are not significant as a cause of human disease in Arizona."
"We don’t see pigeon-related-disease problems..." "I don’t think they’re seeing them anywhere..." - Bill Kottkamp, Supervisor, Vector Control, St. Louis County Health Department.

In short, Moriarty seeks to scare people in to hiring her employers. Apparently there are people foolish enough to listen to such drivel, without attention to fact.

Pigeons are nice birdies. Each of them poops a bit (something like a tablespoon or so a day, from what I can observe, having cared for a few injured birds). It cleans up pretty easily (a good rainstorm does the job — or 15 minutes with a garden hose). As fellow-urbanites, these birds are models of tolerance (other birds cohabit with pigeons in the same territory). Pigeons even like people — they'd even be nice to Moriarty, I suspect, if she offered them peanuts (though in her case, she'd probably lace the nuts with cyanide — or avitrol, even if it is illegal in New York City).

Most New Yorkers realize this — always have; they feed the birds, they generally think the birds are an asset and if poop is a bit inæsthetic, well, adults can deal with this.

Shame on the Queens Courier staff; get yourself a better advertiser.

Lily:

I am sending you this letter in behalf of the New York citizens, that care for helpless pigeons that are becoming the scapegoat of unscrupulous people that are only looking for personal monetary gain and political advancement.

I don't want to think that the Queens Courier would want to be associated to that kind of people, furthermore, be accused of irresponsible and unprofessional journalism.

An article published by the Queens Courier on Wed Jan. 23 by your reporter Elana Moriarty, who is a media correspondent for BirdX, a pigeon exterminating company, is full of deceit and dishonesty.

None of the facts she claims about pigeon poop being harmful to humans are true, these are fabrications from a dishonest sales person.

To corroborate my statements I am quoting experts testimonies from verifiable sources, you will also find other facts about pigeons that are unknown to most "uninformed" people:

1) Saturday, November 17, 2007

Understanding Zoonotic Diseases of Pigeons in NYC
Dr. Anthony A. Pilny, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian):

The frequency of disease transmission from birds to humans is very LOW, but the young, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems should be cautious as bird to human disease transmission is known to occur.

Many of these diseases are transmitted by ingestion of food contaminated by fecal matter.

Prevention of most of these diseases, therefore, simply involves proper hygiene and sanitation, and common sense. Contact with pigeon droppings may pose a SMALL health risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists three human diseases known to be associated with birds (including pet birds such a parrots) and associated with pigeons/droppings:
histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and psittacosis.

The FACTS:

Psittacosis - Since 1996, fewer than 50 confirmed cases were reported in the United States annually. In New York City, psittacosis is VERY RARE with less than ONE human case identified each year. According to the CDC, about 70% of infected people had contact with infected pet birds – not pigeons.

Cryptococcosis - Approximately 0.4-1.3 cases per 100,000 people in the general population are reported. It is very unlikely that healthy people will become infected even at high levels of exposure.

Histoplasmosis – An incidence is not reported so it is assumed to be low. Once again immunocompromised individuals are at greater risk and those in third world countries.

As one can see – risk of contracting disease from pigeons in NYC is very low and has not been proven to pose any public health threat. Diagnostic screening (medical testing) of the pigeon population in NYC for the few zoonotic diseases that exist has not been performed and would definitely shed light on the true incidence and risk. Routine cleaning of droppings (e.g. from windowsills) does NOT pose a serious health risk to most people. Some simple precautions can be taken to further reduce direct contact with droppings, such as wearing disposable gloves and clothes that can be washed after exposure. As far as I know – NYC hospitals are not inundated with patients sick from living in an environment with pigeons.

As an avian veterinarian who sees and treats pigeons, I believe there is little risk to myself and staff from working with these birds. I don’t have fear of becoming ill by walking around and visiting the parks, or just living here in NYC with our wonderful pigeons.

References: http://www.cdc.gov/
http://www.nyc.gov/

Another expert testimony on how the threat of human acquired diseases from pigeon is overly exaggerated.

2) Pigeon Article
Pigeons can be a nuisance, but they are not necessarily a health hazard. The term "rats with wings" came from a 1980 play, "Stardust Memories" starring Woody Allen. Allen used the term in the movie and apparently someone with a vested interest in misleading the public decided to use it in a campaign to drum up business for pigeon control.

The facts are just the opposite. Yes, there are some diseases that can be transmitted by pigeons, but no more so than any other bird, including such popular pets as parakeets, canaries, etc. Consider what some experts have said about pigeons and disease;
"...diseases associated with [pigeons] present little risk to people..."
Dr. Michael McNeil, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta.

"The New York City Department of Health has no documented cases of communicable disease transmitted from pigeons to humans." -
Dr. Manuel Vargas, New York City Department of Health.

"I am not aware of any reported cases of diseases that were transmitted by pigeons in Mohave County." -
Larry Webert, R.S., Mohave County Environmental Health Division

So much for the health problems caused by pigeons. They do have their attributes.

During World War 1, pigeons carried thousands of messages that saved many hundreds of lives. In World War 11 pigeons continued to be used. Radios were frequently not working due to damage or when unfavorable terrain rendered them almost useless. Pigeons continued to fly through enemy fire, and amazingly 95% of them completed their missions One pigeon in particular, named "Cher Ami" was a World War 1 Carrier Pigeon, one of 600 birds owned and flown by the U.S. Signal Corps. Cher Ami was originally bred by the British Signal Corps. He was transferred to the Americans after the war on Oct. 27, 1918.

Cher Ami delivered 12 important messages within the American sector at Verdun, France. On his last mission, Cher Ami, shot through the breast by enemy fire, managed to return to his loft. A message capsule was found dangling from the ligaments of one of his legs that had also been shattered by enemy fire. The message he carried was from Major Whittlesey's "Lost Battalion" of the 77th Infantry Division that had been isolated from other American forces. Just a few hours after the message was received, 194 survivors of the battalion were safe behind American lines. Cher Ami was awarded the French "Croix de Guerre" with Palm for his heroic service between the forts of Verdun. He died in 1919 as a result of his battle wounds. Cher Ami was later inducted into the Racing Pigeon Hall of Fame in 1931 and received a gold medal from the Organized Bodies of American Racing Pigeon Fanciers in recognition of his extraordinary service during World War 1.

Pigeons continued their valiant service during World War 11 and the Korean War. The Dickin Medal for Valor, an award only for animals , was given to 31 pigeons in World War 11, more than any other animal. (The next closest animals were dogs, with 8 medals).

Pigeons also have religious significance as well. Noah thanked God for them and Christ defended them. Doves are the symbols of love and peace. Are pigeons and doves the same? The dictionary defines doves as :

1. Any of various widely distributed birds of the family Columbidae, which includes the pigeons, having a small head and a characteristic cooing call.
2. A gentle, innocent person.
3. A person who advocates peace, conciliation, or negotiation in preference to confrontation or armed conflict.

Pigeons are among the most maligned of all animals, often compared to cockroaches and rats. Pigeons deserve the same respect and affection that we give to our companion birds, such as parakeets, parrots, canaries and the rest. When they live on our buildings and deface it, we can remove the birds by excluding them from the area, but we don't need to kill them.

When we exclude pigeons from a building, we should also remove any nesting material and treat the area with a low toxic pesticide to prevent bird mites from entering the building and biting the people inside.

Pigeons aren't the only birds with the capacity to share human emotions. The following true stories demonstrate that all animals are capable of love.

A bird watcher was walking through the woods in New Jersey when he came across what appeared to be a sick white-throated sparrow sitting on a log. As he approached the sparrow, he could see it was very weak. He sat down and was watching it when a hermit thrush landed on the log next to the sparrow. The thrush put some leaves in front of the sparrow, but the little bird didn't eat. Finally the thrush regurgitated some seeds it had eaten. The little sparrow started eating the seeds off the log and then started eating right out of the thrush's mouth. A short while later, the sparrow was rejuvenated and flew away. Thrushes and sparrows are not at all related to each other except that they are both birds. It is wonderful that a bird of one species would go out of its way to help a bird of another species.

askthebugman.com
http://www.askthebugman.com/

An Article in National Geographic provided another insight into reality. After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the fire's damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the sight he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings.
The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother remained steadfast. Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live.

Finally, I want to share a letter from a reader of my column who lives in Belen:

"I have a comment about cockfighting. I won't even get into the issues of culture, tradition and all that malarkey. The truth is the poor roosters that are raised to fight are wonderful, intelligent, creatures. We rescued one several years ago. He was 'thrown away' or escaped in an ally near our house. We found him struggling to get into a trashcan for food. When we picked him up, and brought him home we saw that he had his wing ripped off, one of his eyes was missing, as were a few of his toes, his combs where cut off and he had the walk of one who wears blades. A good 'ol boy told us he was probably fed gunpowder too, because once in a while he would 'go nuts'. But, good 'ol Brewster was a survivor. With a little TLC he became the "king" of the backyard. He fell in love with a little white cat and would follow her everywhere, and actually lay down and sleep beside her. The dogs respected him. He would come when you called him because he knew that his own personal 'produce section' was going to have fresh veggies dumped into it. He begged at the outside table with the dogs, and hung around the barbecue grill when someone was cooking. He was the sweetest most loving and beautiful rooster I've ever known. His retirement lasted for 4 years before we lost him to a bacterial infection. I still miss him, and am still disgusted at the cruelty that poor thing endured at the hands of the demons that fight roosters."

All of these true stories say the same thing, love is not a human emotion, love is a spiritual blessing shared by all living things and the only true emotion in existence.

Cardinal Newman was correct when he said:
"Now what is it that moves our very heart and sickens us so much as cruelty shown to poor brutes? I suppose this: first, that they have done us no harm; next, that they have no power whatever to resistance; it is the cowardice and tyranny of which they are the victims which make their sufferings so especially touching. There is something so very dreadful, so Satanic in tormenting those who have never harmed us, and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power."

I would really appreciate your posting in the Queens Courier, truthful and verifiable facts about pigeons, as well as your response to this email.

Thank you,
Lily
New York City

Marian Hailey-Moss:

Dear Folks -

I am writing to say I think you should put an apology in your paper for allowing a pigeon exterminator to say false and inflammatory statements of these birds that are a part of the life in our city.

The article is too biased to be taken seriously by your readers who may not be aware Ms. Moriarity has an ax to grind and a dollar to earn if people follow her rhetoric.

Thank you for you time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Marian Hailey-Moss
http://www.marianhaileymoss.com/
http://www.nyveggies.com/

Courier reply:

LPAJAROS, represented the Queens Courier responded:

"WE DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR OP-ED PAGE OPINIONS. OPINIONS ARE ALWAYS BIASED! OPINIONS ARE ALSO NOT ARTICLES... PIGEONS COST OUR CITY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR."

Lily:

Then Queens Courier, if you feel that everybody and anybody has a right to an opinion -- you must post our opinions too -- that is only "fair" reporting, and we want to believe that the Queens Courier is a fair reporter of facts.

Please respond to us with a posting in your newspaper of our letters to you, as well as your response.

Sincerely,
People who Love and Respect All Animals (especially pigeons).

Ilona Grasberg:

I wish to voice my EXTREME displeasure at your allowing this woman to print her HATE- FILLED Misinformation regarding Pigeons!! "

The New York City Department of Health has no documented cases of communicable disease transmitted from pigeons to humans."

Guy Hodge, Naturalist for the Humane Society of the United States. "'People worry that pigeons carry disease,' but the danger is 'an exaggeration created by pest control companies looking for business.'" -

"[...the Arizona Department of Health Services does] not have any documented human cases of disease which have been definitively linked to outdoor pigeons or pigeon droppings. When cases of diseases are reported (and by law [certain bird related zoonoses are] reportable diseases), VBZD staff conduct complete investigations to confirm the diagnosis and identify the source of infection... Our case investigation data gathered so far, would suggest that pigeons are not significant as a cause of human disease in Arizona."

Courier reply:

IT IS AN OP-ED PAGE...FOR OPINIONS. HER OPINION WAS PRESENTED. PIGEONS SERVE NO PURPOSE AT ALL. THE COST THE CITY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR IN CLEAN UP COSTS AND LAWSUITS.

Marjorie Caruso:

Dear Sirs:

We all now know that Ms. Moriarity has ulterior motives for writing her ludicrous articles. What concerns me is that your paper published the drivel! Perhaps you should do a bit more research, before you print rubbish. Or is that what you usually do?

Sincerely,
Marjorie Caruso
New York, New York

M. Cooper:

An Op-Ed Page should NOT be an advertisement. As a newspaper - You have an obligation to NOT mislead or miseducate the public you serve. You are also totally incorrect to state that Pigeons cost our city million of dollars every year.

As a native of Queens, I take absolute offense in the irresponsible decision made by your newspaper and in your arrogant and false responses.

M. Cooper

Margret Antognetti:

With all due respect...I hope since you refuse to set forth an apology to all animal lovers who read The Courier. I do hope in that case you were smart enough to get paid for advertising space in your paper from this women who is obviously out for her own gain.

I feel its a shame that you feel that opinions can not hurt and that "opinions are always biased" since I am in the journalism field in a much bigger venue then The Courier and that kind of attitude without adding in something from The Courier that "this is just the opinion of the person writing the advertisement, sorry article and not that of the paper".

If that was not put in after or before the article then in that case I find this very poor journalism and biased journalism on the part of the courier. As we know all papers unless spewing propaganda need to remain neutral if they deem to aspire to the continued respect of the people reading them.

Margret Antognetti

G.C. Hartsoe:

I was appalled to read the "opinion" article in the Jan. 23rd edition of the Courier newspapers called "Pigeon Poop Is Dangerous" which was submitted for publication by Elana Moriarity, whom I assumed was a DVM until I began to read the lies and misrepresentations in her article.

Later on I discovered that Ms. Moriarity is actually a spokesperson for a pigeon extermination company named BIRD-X, INC. and obviously was not concerned with the authenticity of her "factual information"---and neither was the Courier !

Needless to say, my respect for the Courier 's journalistic standing has been greatly diminished by the publication of this obviously contrived and misleading drivel.

Shame on you!!

G.C. Hartsoe

Courier Reply:

THANK YOU. WE SIMPLY HATE PIGEONS.

Mr. Parajos,

The attached e-mail from Marian Hailey-Moss was forwarded to me along with your arrogant response--which I would like to briefly discuss.

1) WE DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR OP-ED OPINIONS. That's a given in the publishing world. But there is such a thing as intelligent selection of what will be published, especially if the opinion contains "factual information" which is far from being factual and in most cases is composed of outright lies.

2) OPINIONS ARE ALWAYS BIASED! This one really gets to me. My dictionary defines bias as being prejudiced, and prejudice is defined as "an adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.

3) is also a given.

4) PIGEONS COST OUR CITY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR. Another piece of "factual information" that has no verification. Even if this is true, where does the money go? For food, housing, education, obedience training, flight training. Perhaps to cover court costs because they are designated as "illegal aliens."

In closing, Mr. Parajos, I'd just like to say that you have given new meaning to the word "Biased."

Sincerely,
G.C. Hartsoe

Marian Isaac:

Dear Editor,

Re the editorial of 1-23-08, concerning pigeons, by Elana Moriarity:

This is an example of very poor journalism. It is actually a commercial for the pest control industry. It is full of misinformation about pigeons.

Check with a reputable avian veterinarian, or CDC epidemiology, to get the correct information. I assume that you don't have a fact-checking department. If you did, you wouldn't be publishing such misinformation.

Pigeons are not at all a significant health risk to humans. To write that they are such a risk to humans is hysteria and promotes hysteria, based on untruths.

Do the Courier's publishers have any sense of or responsibility for what happens when they advocate a viewpoint that promotes the killing of a species? Think about the implications of what you are doing when you write such condemnations.

The campaign to malign pigeons is generated by the pest control industry, solely to drum up business. By printing this rubbish, you are promoting for the business, and with information that consists of lies in print.

Pest companies poison the birds who die horribly. They also trap and then kill. Those that hire pest companies are typically told that the birds are not harmed in this process. Rather, that the birds are merely fed something that makes them disoriented and they go away. Not true. And when they are killed, more birds move to the vacant area. It results in an unending source of business for the pest companies that you are now advertising for.

There are a small number of pest control companies that use humane methods to move birds from problem areas. Killing them is inhumane and ineffective.

The main risk to human health involves diseases that humans contract from other humans. If your concern for public health is so great, what are you doing to educate people about basic human disease prevention?

I certainly think that the onus is on the Courier to atone for this disgraceful "editorial."
It would be only right and fair of you to get your facts straight.

There is a worldwide war on wildlife, with gross habitat destruction, elimination of their food supplies, and outright slaughter of species to extinction. The Passenger Pigeon, native to North America, was made extinct by a society that exploited and killed them until there was only one left, in a museum. They had formerly ranged across North America in great flocks that seemed unending. They were wiped out in a few decades.

You are not helping abate this same uncaring attitude by your irresponsible "editorial."

The excerpts from various writings below would be very appropriate to include in an atonement editorial, if you have the integrity to print one.

"So much for the health problems caused by pigeons. They do have their attributes. During World War I, pigeons carried thousands of messages that saved many hundreds of lives. In World War II, pigeons continued to be used in all terrains, where radios were inoperable or damaged. Pigeons have a tremendous homing urge, to get back to their lofts and their families. This made them a most effective means of message delivery during the war.

"Pigeons flew through tremendous enemy fire, as enemy forces barraged the birds with gunfire to prevent their messages from reaching allied forces. An amazing 95% of the pigeons completed their missions.

"One pigeon in particular, "Cher Ami" (Dear Friend), was a World War 1 Carrier Pigeon, one of 600 birds owned and flown by the U.S. Signal Corps. Cher Ami was originally bred by the British Signal Corps. He was transferred to the Americans after the war on Oct. 27, 1918.

"Cher Ami delivered 12 important messages within the American sector at Verdun, France. On his last mission, Cher Ami, was shot through the breast by enemy fire, but managed to return to his loft. A message capsule was found dangling from the ligaments of one of his legs that had also been shattered by enemy fire. The message he carried was from Major Whittlesey's "Lost Battalion" of the 77th Infantry Division that had been isolated from other American forces.

"Just a few hours after the message was received, 194 survivors of the battalion were safe behind American lines. Cher Ami was awarded the French "Croix de Guerre" with Palm for his heroic service between the forts of Verdun. He died in 1919 as a result of his battle wounds.

"Cher Ami was later inducted into the Racing Pigeon Hall of Fame in 1931 and received a gold medal from the Organized Bodies of American Racing Pigeon Fanciers in recognition of his extraordinary service during World War 1.

"Pigeons continued their valiant service during World War 11 and the Korean War. The Dickin Medal for Valor, an award only for animals , was given to 31 pigeons in World War 11, more than any other animal. (The next closest animals were dogs, with 8 medals)."

Pigeons also have religious significance as well. Noah thanked God for them and Christ defended them.

Birds, like mammals, display love of family and appreciation of life.
They protect their young with a dedication that not even many humans have.

"An article in National Geographic provided such an insight. After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the fire's damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground, at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently stuck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings.

"The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety, but had refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze arrived and heat had scorched her small body, the mother remained steadfast. Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her body survived."

I hope you will do the right thing, print a correct and compassionate editorial, stop pandering to those that hate animals, and stop promoting a business based on fallacy and profit-seeking.

Sincerely,
Marian Isaac

Joanna Tierno:

How many people do you know that have become sick from pigeons? I don't know of any. I was also born with a condition called hypogammaglobulinemia, which is a primary immune deficiency and I am able to spend time with pigeons but have to be careful in my interactions with people. Humans carry illnesses that are easy for other humans to catch. Pigeon poop used to be used as fertilizer. It is no more toxic or dangerous than any other kind of poop. People simple have to hose down areas that have been pooped on, but many are lazy and rather do away with all living creatures instead. This is really sad. Bird watching and feeding can actually be very relaxing- & thus beneficial to people.

Please sign my petition-http://www.youchoose.net/campaign/petition_against_simcha_felders_proposal

Sincerely,
Joanna Tierno

Al Streit:

It's hard to improve on Don Jenner's criticism of this article.

The Queens Courier publishing an ad for an exterminator as an article means only that it's in favor of cruelty to animals. Forget about responsibility, morality, or even fact checking. Even a little research would have shown you that hosing off the pigeon poop is enough to protect from disease. There are a small handful of disease obtainable from pigeons, excluding bird flu and west Nille virus. But they virtually never occur. Salmonella transmission is very rare and you're more likely to get it from chickens or parrots. People get sick from other people.

This has to be part of the campaign to get rid of pigeons started by Andrew Blechman and continued now by Simcha Felder. There has never been a reason for it. Have their backers (the Humane Soc. of the US, for example) paid you?

And it's easy to keep pigeon off of things. The most effective deterrents are cheap wire devices, not things that try to fool the birds. In any case, pigeons are the only wild animals that think they belong with people, and if you would publish something true about them, you'd include how sweet they are as well as how harmless.

Many people are going to use the article as an excuse to continue the cruel things they already do to pigeons. Read about them and learn to like them.

Pigeon People, a Yahoo rescue, educational, and activist group for pigeons. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pijnpeople

Charis Palmer:

Girl...You need to get your facts straight by doing more research. You are so way off on this one it would be laughable if there were not those that believe everything they read. Shame on you for your deception.

Nona Smith:

Lady, you are way, way off base. The cost to NYC for the removal of graffitti.....NYC's shameful eyesore, left on our public spaces by HUMANS......way exceeds the cost of any pigeon poop clean up. Why did you write such gross falsehoods.....are you a pigeon hater???

Naomi Semeniuk:

The Pesticides that Elana Moriarty is infected with.
Forward to Ms. Moriarty.

To editorial@queenscourier.com:

When a paper prints a litany of lies that are so off the mark and totally fallacious they kill their credibility and humiliate themselves. The irresponsibility and stupidity of the Queens Courier editor to print the rubbish that Elana Moriarty wrote is tantamount to journalistic suicide.

Thank you Dr. Jenner, Ph.D for your scholastic rebuttal to Ms. Moriarty in your accurate scientific synopsis regarding the shameful debacle of mistakes that Ms. Moriarty made. Dr.Turi an astro psychologist is famous for saying "Knowledge is power and ignorance is evil. Yes in this case ignorance is evil in that it accuses a species in this case rock doves of being lethal when they are not, but it's the human who wrote that piece of distorted trash who's perpetuating the evil lethal lies.

Any dummy with a zero IQ can spray a pesticide without knowing the fatal side effects that the pesticides pose to public safety and to all forms of life human and animal. Anyone who represents a pesticide company is in alignment with monstrous diseases that rear their ugly heads and kill lives and the environment. They do not serve society; they defraud society.

How about DDT which was first brought into the public consciousness by Rachel Carson in her immortal "Silent Spring?" I think anyone who works around pesticides needs to stay away from the public because they pose the greatest threat to our environment, to humans and to all animals.

Along with Plum Island that's a breeding ground for man made weapons of mass destruction on animals, humans and the environment, Bird X and all of these pesticide companies need to be investigated by the Comptroller's office and the Department of Health and they need to be shut down, because they truly pose a major threat to all. A skull symbol and an X is what these toxic pesticide companies stand for and the extermination of companies like BIRD X would serve the public safety, the landscape and all living beings human and non human very well! Biological warfare is touting its poisons on the public consciousness and is peddling its cocktails of carnage by infecting all living things. Ms.Moriarty and the Queens Courier are both beneath contempt, but at the end of the day their dirty laundry is exposed to all who will speak the truth unabashedly and with the scholarship to support the real truth.

The Atomic Energy Commission at the time the atomic bomb was unleashed also said that it posed no public danger, but a trail of victims proved otherwise. That has cost the system millions and billions. I'm sure that Ms. Moriarty is one who would say that any toxic substance is good for you as long as it poses a hefty profit for her. The payback comes later when the toxins build up and destroy the human condition. The improper hygiene is in the pesticide infected minds and bodies of people like Ms. Moriarty, not in the birds! Papers like the Queens Courier also need to clean up their act or else fold all together. Pigeons love to bathe themselves and love it when it rains.

One can NOT bathe or wash away pesticides any more than the 9/11 heroes who were dying and have died of toxic fumes and toxic asbestos from 9/11, and other 9/11 toxic particulates can bathe their ill fated sicknesses away. They were also told by Governor Whitman at the time that the air was safe which was a fatal criminal lie for many. This kind of reprehensible misinformation propaganda is costing millions and billions in lives and dollars!! They deserved better! Those who peddle misinformation propaganda that kill should be held accountable.

Pigeons do not have toxic fumes that kill, but you Ms. Moriarty sure have the toxic ignorance and fallout to make a clown of yourself. The editor of the Queens Courier was NOT acting in the best professional interest of the public by allowing this low level sloppy standard of journalism to get published.

The Minnesota Bridge was structurally dangerous because of faulty engineering and its collapse had absolutely nothing to do with pigeon droppings no more than your toxic pesticide laced droppings Ms.Moriarty could bring a structure down.

Again shoddy structures built by profiteers accelerating their deadlines for completion with little or no conscience or moral responsibility for public safety is costing millions and billions.

Over and over again the history records show that these extraordinary birds have the right stuff for valor in war and do not carry avian flu. Ms. Moriarty has never heard of Biowarfare labs and what's created in them.

Ms. Moriarty is also probably unaware that at Bird Paradise in upstate NY there's a walk of honor commenorating the pigeons who died for America. This is a nature walk we all must take. At Bird Paradise, Peter Dubacher the CEO, has a paradise setting for birds of all species in NY state and has honored pigeons who served America as treasures of the land who're worthy of preservation and the highest respect. This has become an NY upstate landmark for all nature devotees.

There were 20,000 pigeons, all feathered extraordinary heroes during the two world wars who died so that humans could be free and so that America would be safer and free from the toxins of oppression. The loathsomeness of toxic people such as Ms. Moriarty can not kill the worthiness, the courage and the indelible beauty of these birds.

It's a pity that Ms. Moriarty has no other talent then to peddle malicious untruths about pigeons and to peddle toxins into the already toxic embedded atmosphere.

It's the exterminators with the pesticide companies Ms. Moriarty represents and the Queens Courier who pose a real public threat because propagandistic drivel based on filthy lies costs lives and burdens the taxpayers more and more.

I also think that those who get fatally sick as a result of working for pesticide companies and learn too late that their illnesses were the result of pesticide exposure to their vulnerable systems do have the right to sue the companies. Perhaps the exterminators from Bird X should start studying what they're peddling and stop the killings! A license to kill is a loathsome abhorrent way to make a living.

Pesticides are detrimental and cause irreversible immune system collapse and irreparable damage. Ms. Moriarty is the agent of death, and her curse on nature will backfire with a vengeance.

Dr. Anthony Pilny, an avian specialist vet who's an authority, know that pigeons do not pose a threat. His knowledge is infallible on this subject. He works with them often and is a certified highly educated professional who has stated that psittacosis is very rare, and that the CDC has stated that 70% of infected people had contact with infected bird pets and not pigeons. Dr. Pilny, the avian vet specialist and authority on birds and exotics, is a great asset to the community and is saving the lives of these feathered heroes every day. He's at the top of his profession and has brought life, energy and the kind of human and humane enlightenment that brings inspiration to all.

Ms. Moriarty had better look into the meth peddlers, the angel dust and heroine cocaine peddlers out there that she would mingle with very well since pesticides are her bread and butter. These agents of death have a pyramid of bodies that they snatch life from every day and also burden the system with millions and billions because our health system is no longer sustainable.

We'll fight to save the birds and expose the pesticides that Ms. Moriarty is infected with. We also do not need inferior amateur yellow journalism that the Queens Courier is known for.

Naomi Semeniuk

Jason Williams:

Folks:

I am wondering what tangible, irrefutable proof you have to buttress your weak (specious, glib) arguments about pigeon defecation causing or transmitting diseases (well, unless some mentally-deficient individual were to, say, eat the feces)? It is rather irksome that for some reason certain animals (pigeons, geese) become termed nuisance animals; when in fact I can think of at least 100 humans that should be put to death before any animal. We're treading a treacherous slope, and I hope the HSUS or PETA files a lawsuit against NYC.

The FACTS:

Psittacosis - Since 1996, fewer than 50 confirmed cases were reported in the United States annually. In New York City, psittacosis is VERY RARE with less than ONE human case identified each year. According to the CDC, about 70% of infected people had contact with infected pet birds – not pigeons.

Cryptococcosis - Approximately 0.4-1.3 cases per 100,000 people in the general population are reported. It is very unlikely that healthy people will become infected even at high levels of exposure.

Histoplasmosis – An incidence is not reported so it is assumed to be low. Once again immunocompromised individuals are at greater risk and those in third world countries.

As one can see – risk of contracting disease from pigeons in NYC is very low and has not been proven to pose any public health threat.

A professional writer harboring disdain for unprofessional & sensationalistic journalism,

Jason Williams,
Poughkeepsie, NY

"When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him." - Jonathan Swift

Francine Wilvers:

Apparently the Exterminator Company has a habit of writing Op Ed letters and use this free space to advertise at no cost. This is perfectly legal, but since it has come to be known that the writers of the Op Ed are connected to Exterminators, who stand to profit by portraying pigeons as health problems, the public should be alerted and made aware of such sly, underhanded dishonesty duping the public.

Francine Wilvers

Sharon Tracy, P.T.:

Regarding the statement: "Pigeons cost our City millions of dollars a year:"

Yes - also parks, parades, fireworks, Shakespeare in the Park, and many other arts programs, are all among those things that " ... cost the City millions ..." Is it being suggested that we go to a more utilitarian financial plan? Eliminating perhaps those things that have no practical value? I see the point, but upon consideration I have personally decided that I am in support of maintaining that which graces us with beauty - in spite of the maintenance considerations.

I have come to enjoy watching pigeons, partially due to learning about them through organizations such as "Pigeon Watch" (a national organization that many children are part of), and can now, for example, identify the seven colorations of pigeons. And yes, they do make a mess sometimes. It would seem that all things living make a mess; trees for example ...... Just in case someone is about to comment that trees are not comparable, are not "dirty," I submit for consideration that trees cause MUCH illness for millions of allergy sufferers; pigeons do not. The fact that pigeons are not actually a potential threat to our health is probably news to many. The ubiquitous and deliberate propaganda (and there is simply no other word for it) from the extermination business has been enormously successful in promoting pigeon phobia - and huge profits for the industry. They originally started with the e extermination of rats and roaches. The marketing then expanded to include all urban wildlife. Their "control" could rescue you from the "threat" of this wildlife - all of which was revealed to be a nuisance at best, and a potential hazard to your very life at worst. Possibly true of mosquitoes ..... Now, few urbanites value interaction with city wildlife, rather they view the meager connection that we could have as ...... a nuisance at best and a health hazard at worst. Squirrels are viewed as not funny and cute - they are a nuisance. Fast forward to .... yes, extermination (with no regard to humane treatment by any real standards or by standards in EU countries, bye the way.) Use raccoon proof trash cans? No .... exterminators to the rescue again. This marketing campaign, though wildly successful, showed no compunctions about flat out lying either. Pr a ctically all of us grew up believing that pigeons were a disease threat. Yet, the statistics regarding pigeon to human disease transmission show that it is more than staggeringly low; it is virtually NON - EXISTENT. NYC DOHMH records an average of 1 - 3 cases per year, ALL of which are from pigeons kept as pets, not from feral pigeons. Even when your job is to clean up after pigeons, you are far less likely to contract a transmissible disease that if you clean up in a hospital. And nothing against parrots, but the transmission of disease from them is very notable greater.

I have seen people who cut down 50 year old, six story, trees because they did not like to clean up leaves and messy berries. But I believe that trees grace us with far more beauty than mess. I also feel lucky to be able to receive the nurturing grace that urban wildlife, including pigeons, bestows. Simple ignorance creates barriers of misunderstanding. Many studies have shown that ignorance creates prejudice and judgement. However, it is also true that some seem to have a need to hold onto their prejudices, even in light of knowledge that does not support their harsh judgement. Wolf hatred is a prime example of this. Even as I write, the Bush administration is working hard to promote the mass slaughter of 80% of the wolf population in some western states. It seems not to matter that there is not even one shred of evidence to support such action; rather it is clear that wolves create a very good and very important nt ecosystem balance. (Fortunately, there is a huge pro-environment and wildlife movement afoot that has every intention of stopping this slaughter.) I do not think that all pigeon hatred can be eliminated, even when people who have long been duped, are informed of the facts. But I believe that it will make one heck of a difference to a very many people.

Sharon Tracy, P. T.
Brooklyn, N. Y.

Anne Ardolino:

The article about pigeons was totally false, and I'm surprised at you guys for printing that garbage.

The opinion was very harmful and incorrect; besides a little secret you might not be aware of, but pigeons can live up to thirty years under good conditions. City pigeons have about three years at best. They live hard lives and don't deserve the hostility often heaped upon their shoulders. They're actually sweet and very intelligent birds.

Anne Ardolino
New York City

Other correspondence received:

Claudie (brandeesbunch@yahoogroups.com):

I sure hope that you and your friends will write letters to the editor to refute those claims.

You can use some of the info from NYC's own Board of Health here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/epi/epi-pigeon.shtml and all the references here: http://peopleforpigeons.blogspot.com/2007/11/understanding-zoonotic-diseases-of.html . Note the word "small" in, "Contact with pigeon droppings may pose a small health risk", and read about the possible diseases and the unlikelihood of infection.

I would also point out to the editor that the original article appears to be a blatant advertisement; clearly, the author has a vested interest in scaring the public about this non-issue!
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Woody Allen movie coined the phrase 'pigeons are rats with wings. In my opinion, Woody Allen is a pervert; (who adopted a child from Asia; had relationships and then married his own adopted daughter.

Puke on Woody Allen -- he should have been arrested since he's a pimp -- and that's my opinion.
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Save the Pigeons of Trafalgar Square, London

The original article was just so full of lies. Elana Moriarty knew she was telling lies, pretty much the same as the Mayor of London has told about the pigeons in the Square.

Rowan Anderson
http://savethepigeons.org/

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

NY is not the cleanest city and adding all the pigeon poop to our streets does not help. I also had one poop on my head as I exited the NY Sports Club on Queens Blvd. I do not want them destroyed but I wish we could somehow get them and take them somewhere else.

jake ostler said...

Arizona has a major problem with pigeons also. I wish it was up to the state to ensure pigeon control in Arizona. It would be so much cleaner if they did, and attract more tourists, which would be good for the state.

jake ostler said...

Arizona has a major problem with pigeons also. I wish it was up to the state to ensure pigeon control in Arizona. It would be so much cleaner if they did, and attract more tourists, which would be good for the state.