LUBBOCK, TX — A local apartment complex has been cited by PETA for potentially using avicides, or a form of bird poison, as a form of pest control against pigeons.
The Texas Pest Control Association says that avicides are only meant to disperse the flock and shouldn’t harm animals other than pigeons. But PETA claims avicides have the potential to kill protected migratory birds or harm pets, and using them on pigeons is inhumane.
PETA started a petition that currently has more than 5,000 signatures, which asks The Management of the Anatole at City View Apartments to stop using avicides to control pigeon populations.
“We are urging other folks to also contact the management and stop killing birds,” said PETA Emergency Response Division Manager Kristin Rickman.
PETA received reports from residents of dead or convulsing birds across the complex. But pest control experts say that avicides can be effective against pigeons.
“It’s not to kill the birds, it’s to move the birds because birds around us are not healthy,” South Plains Chapter Director of the Texas Pest Control Association Cody Jackson said.
Using avicides such as Avitrol is a legal form of pest control against pigeons because pigeons are not a protected species. The poison is normally mixed with corn and eaten by the birds, causing them to emit distress signals.
“These are very dangerous and they are not humane at all. Avicides cause flight disorientation, they cause tremors, they cause convulsions before a slow and painful death,” said Rickman.
But pigeons can also carry diseases that can become airborne, and their droppings are so acidic that they can take the paint off of a car.
“It’s not inhumane; it’s just a lack of education. Having pigeons live where you live is a bad thing. They are trying to make your place of residence a lot healthier,” said Jackson.
Spikes, green lasers, streamers, and limiting food supply are also ways to deter pigeons, which Rickman claims are more effective.
“Lethal methods simply don’t work, so it has to be done year after year after year. And while the deterrents might have a greater initial cost, that cost is going to be a one-time cost,” said Rickman.
When avicides are put out, they should be monitored so other animals don’t come in contact with the poison.
“It’s a quick fix, but sometimes not so much long-term. So they have to constantly control it,” said Jackson.
But Rickman says no matter what, avicides should not be used as a pest control.
“Some people see pigeons as a nuisance but pigeons are very caring parents. They work together, they mate for life, they work together to take care of their young and they are caring parents,” said Rickman.
The Anatole at City View was contacted several times regarding their pest control methods but never returned the request for comment.