There are very few guarantees in life. Water is wet, fire is hot, and The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are constantly upset about something.
PETA’s latest gripe is with former boxer Mike Tyson and his new Animal Planet reality show, Taking on Tyson, which will show the “intensely competitive and bizarrely fascinating world of pigeon racing. Tyson has raised pigeons all his life but is a novice when it comes to pigeon racing.
“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,” said PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk in a statement.
PETA sent a letter to the district attorney’s office in Brooklyn to “make sure the production is not allowed to go forward if illegal activity is going to take place.”
Besides the concern for the health of the pigeons, the animal organization that in the past have gone after athletes Manu Ginboli, Johnny Weir and Michael Vick, wants to make sure there’s no gambling involved on the races that will be featured on the show.
There’s no reason to believe that the producers at Animal Planet won’t do their due diligence to ensure no illegal activity takes place during filming. We’re talking about the network home of Animal Cops and Animal Precinct, two shows that focus on preventing cruelty against animals.
Animal Planet and Tyson’s publicist, Tammy Brook, issued the following statement: “Everybody that knows Mike Tyson knows of his deep and abiding love for his pigeons. His birds are where he finds his solace and peace. He treats them with the utmost respect and care. Animal Planet will honor that respect and care in our production and in how these beautiful creatures are treated in Taking on Tyson.”
Do you really think they would put their reputation on the line with a reality show featuring Tyson unless they were 100 percent sure of no wrongdoings?
We all know Tyson’s checkered past, ranging from his 1992 rape conviction to biting the ears of boxer Evander Holyfield in the ring. The 43-year-old has been unstable to say the very least. But over the past year, we have been introduced to a new, softer side of Tyson, thanks to a documentary by director James Toback. In Tyson, the boxer explains the first time he got into a fight was after someone wrung the neck of one of his pigeons.
Unfortunately Tyson’s history along with his intimidating figure and demeanor makes him an easy target for the bullies at PETA.
With Vick watching his P’s and Q’s since his release from prison, PETA needs a new scapegoat for their constant attacks and unsuccessful campaigns. Unlike Vick, who was convicted of organizing the “Bad Newz Kennels” dog fighting ring and directly participating in the execution of pit bulls, there have been no accusations against Tyson and his treatment of pigeons.
From what we know, Tyson is a gentle giant when it comes to his feathered friends. Unless Tyson is caught in the act going Ozzy Osbourne on a pigeon and biting the head off, PETA’s hot air would be better spent on more pressing animal cruelty cases.