Pigeons are clean, friendly and intelligent birds who have been given bad press because they are so visible in town  centres, because of a silly line in a film in which one character described them as a good omen and another as "rats with wings".

The popular press and the pest control business likes to describe them as "disease carrying birds", but pigeons don't carry any more diseases that other birds.

They are resistant to  Avian Flu so less of a risk than many of the birds that are more popular because of their rarity.

Diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans are referred to as "zoonotic" and are rare.  You have probably caught a few illnesses from your fellow humans already, and will most probably catch many more during your lifetime.  You would be extremely unlucky if you caught a zoonotic disease from any animal.

Here are some authoritative quotes about pigeons and disease which show that the real experts in the field all agree that there is no tangible health risk to human beings from contact with pigeons:

The British Government Chief Veterinary Officer
, when addressing the House of Lords in 2000 on the issue of pigeons in Trafalgar Square was asked if the large number of pigeons in the Square represented a health risk to human beings. The Chief Veterinary Officer told The House that in his opinion they did not represent a risk to human health.

Mike Everett, spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said, in The Big Issue Magazine, February 2001: "The whole 'rats with wings' thing is just emotive nonsense. There is no evidence to show that they (pigeons) spread disease.”

Charlotte Donnelly, an American bird control expert told the Cincinnati Environment Advisory Council in her report to them: "The truth is that the vast majority of people are at little or no health risk from pigeons and probably have a greater chance of being struck by lightening than contracting a serious disease from pigeons."

David A Palmer (B.V.Sc., M.R.C.V.S) said in an article entitled 'Pigeon Lung Disease Fatality and Health Risk from Ferals': "Obviously, since all these Allergic Extrinsic Alveolitis disease syndromes rely on the involved person having a very specific allergy before any disease, involving respiratory distress and very unusually death, can possibly be seen, it really makes absolute nonsense for a popular daily newspaper to suggest that pigeons present a health hazard and presumably need eliminating for the well-being of the nation’s health.”

David Taylor BVMS FRCVS FZS: “In 50 years professional work as a veterinary surgeon I cannot recall one case of a zoonosis in a human that was related to pigeons. On the other hand I know of, and have seen, examples of human disease related to contact with dogs, cats, cattle, monkeys, sheep, camels, budgies, parrots, cockatoos, aquarium fish and even dolphins, on many

Guy Merchant, Director of The Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PICAS) says, when talking about the transmission of disease by pigeons: "If we believed everything we read in the media about pigeons and the farcical propaganda distributed by the pest control industry we would ever leave our homes. The fact of the matter is that there is probably a greater risk to human health from contact with domestic pets such as cats, dogs and caged birds."


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