Unfortunately, the voices of those who want to see a danger in urban pigeons are more glaring and much more present than the messages from the authorities. Sentences like: “City pigeons represent a considerable health risk for humans and can transmit more than 100 human-pathogenic infectious diseases” can be found in the press and on the Internet in such or similar formulations. The alleged basis for these fearsome statements is provided by articles that cite a high number of different diseases, including parasites, with which urban pigeons could infect us.
Caution is good, panic is unnecessary
Of course, every case of disease must be taken seriously and every possible route of spread of a zoonosis (infectious diseases transmissible from animal to human and from human to animal) must be checked. However, the probability of contracting a disease from urban pigeons is extremely low.
Of course, the right degree of attention and hygiene is always required for close contact with animals and their droppings – nesting sites and feces. This applies to dealing with pets living on the streets, such as urban pigeons, as well as to dealing with our pets and of course, wild animals.
As Animal welfare in urban pigeon management, It is clear that more and better education is needed to improve the image of the urban pigeon and allow people to handle them without concern. The new study on the veracity of the claims on the sites of pest controllers and scaring companies is a good step in this direction and should be shared and made available to many people.
Another important step is the control of urban pigeon populations in accordance with animal welfare requirements. Here, supervised pigeon lofts offer the best solution for pigeons and humans. In the pigeon lofts the animals can be cared for and medically attended to, by controlling the brood the local population shrinks and the hungry flocks gradually disappear from the cityscape.
Since urban pigeons do not transmit any significant diseases to humans, they should not be called pests.