Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pigeon Killings Anticipated in So. Korea

May 21, 2009, 3:30 am
The New York Times

A Korean term for fat pigeons – literally, pig pigeon (dwaeji + bidulgi).

South Korea’s capital, Seoul, is plagued by pigeons. (This follows a decision in the 1970s to introduce the birds in an attempt, it seems, to mimic the pigeons in cities like London.) Faced with increasing public concern about the environmental and health consequences of this infestation, officials are planning to make pigeons easier to cull, as Sung So-young reported for The JoongAng Daily:

“Pigeons could be added to the list of harmful animals by early next month,” said Cho Gap-hyun, officer in charge of the pigeon portfolio at the ministry [of environment]. It usually takes 45 days to approve an amendment, Cho said, so D-Day for the members of the bird family that many people regard as a rat with wings could be June 10.

“A large number of citizens want us to do something about their problems regarding pigeon droppings and feathers but there is no relevant law to control pigeon-related problems,” Cho explained by way of background to the proposed amendment.

Once designated feral, harmful animals, pigeons will be fair game for capture or killing, with full approval of the authorities.

Discussing the unpopularity of these urban birds, Sung So-young wrote:

The nicknames given to pigeons reveal the levels of antipathy, especially to weighty ones that swagger from bench to bench looking for scraps of food.

One is dakdulgi, a compound of dak, or chicken, and dulgi, a shortened word for bidulgi, or pigeon in Korean. Another is dwaedulgi, a compound of dwaeji, or pig, and bidulgi.

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