No Surprise: PETA Objects to Tyson's Bird Show
by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 17th 2010 1:03PM
The other day when Animal Planet announced 'Taking on Tyson,' a new reality program about former heavyweight boxing champion -- and ex-convict -- Mike Tyson's love for pigeons, you had to be a little skeptical. It's hard to imagine the bruiser having a soft spot in his heart for fowl, but he does.
Well, apparently, the good folks at PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals, are not happy about the show. They aren't doubt Tyson's affection for the birds, but they deem pigeon racing -- and the breeding and caring for the birds -- as cruelty. It's as bad as dog fighting, they say.
Ingrid Newkirk, PETA prez, told PopEater.com, "One wonders whether Mike Tyson - as a self-appointed ambassador of and 'rookie' to pigeon racing - realizes that just as losing racehorses end up in the glue factory, these gentle, loyal birds who race their hearts out in order to get home to their life mates often become lost in storms or have their necks wrung for failing to beat their competitors' time."
It's hard to believe that Animal Planet would get involved in any program that would to anything knowingly harmful to animals. It kind of goes against the entire mission of the channel. But anything with Tyson is likely to court controversy. He is the man who once chewed off part of Evander Holyfield's ear during a prize fight. He's also the guy who was in 'The Hangover' last year and was surprisingly appealing. He's a mass of contradictions.
As for his pigeon prowess, even the guys on 'Pardon the Interruption' -- Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser -- were talking about this new show yesterday and attested to the fact that Tyson loves his pigeons. They'd seen him with them.
'Taking on Tyson' isn't going on the air until 2011, so presumably, they'll work out all the issues by then. PETA may never be happy with the whole idea of having pigeons placed in a competitive arena, but then they're also against all kinds of things that other people enjoy as sport. It's all a matter of perspective.