Pigeons’ vital service during World War II

Pigeons at The Moor are becoming a problem
Pigeons at The Moor are becoming a problem
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I would like to respond to the letter from Gary Crosby, (Star, November 4), who questions the veracity of my claim that pigeons are not classed as vermin and says that “the general consensus so far as I could ascertain was that feral pigeons are indeed widely considered to be vermin”.

Rather than rely on information from Google as he has done I prefer to consult a reliable, established organisation who are an authority on birds like the RSPB who I contacted today by telephone and spoke to one of their wildlife experts who confirmed, as they have done previously, that NO birds, including pigeons, are classed as vermin.

The definition of vermin in the Oxford dictionary which states ‘wild animals that are believed to be harmful to crops, farm animals, game, or which carry disease’ does not specifically refer to birds.

Wikipedia says that ‘feral pigeons are often considered a pest but it is rare that a pigeon will transmit a disease to humans due to their immune system and therefore contrary to belief they do not pose a significant health risk’.

I think the denigration of pigeons including referring to them in derogatory terms such as ‘vermin’ and ‘flying rats’ is abominable and they deserve more respect.

Everyone should be made aware of the valuable service they performed during the war when they were used to deliver important messages of which 90 per cent got through despite enemy fire and often sustaining mortal injury to themselves.

They saved countless lives and out of 54 Dickin Medals, (the animals’ VC), awarded in World War II, 32 went to pigeons.

Susan Richardson

Westminster Crescent, Lodge Moor, Sheffield, S10