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article imagePETA takes on Mike Tyson over TV series featuring pigeon racing

By Stephanie Dearing     Mar 21, 2010 in Sports
Tyson is the star of an upcoming reality series on Animal Planet. The series zeroes in on racing pigeons, and has raised the ire of PETA.
New York, NY - The retired U.S. heavyweight champion boxer has a soft spot for pigeons for most of his life. A new Animal Planet series called Take on Tyson, featuring insights into the pigeon fancier's life, will never air if PETA gets its way. PETA has written to Brooklyn's District Attorney to request an investigation into allegations that Tyson will be racing pigeons on air for money, something that is not permitted in New York. The show is scheduled to start taping in Brooklyn next month, but the investigation by the D.A. might put an end to that plan.
The premise of Take on Tyson is that Tyson, a novice pigeon racer, would race his birds against pros. The series was to be shot in Brooklyn. PETA said that Brooklyn does not allow anyone to profit from racing animals, and that even if there are no bets being taken on the pigeon races to be shown on Animal Planet, Tyson will be paid for his appearances, thus profiting from the sport. However, PETA alleged in its letter to the D.A., "It is likely that extensive wagering will take place, as is customary in the industry, in violation of New York law."
PETA claims there can be good money earned through winning pigeon races. Indeed, some of the money is big, although the real money in pigeon racing is to be found in Europe.
Animal Planet said Tyson would come into the series as an underdog. The show promises to show an entirely different aspect of Tyson to the world. Animal Planet Media's President and General Manager Marjorie Kaplan said "Tyson's passion for his pigeons takes my breath away. For years, he has been inspired by these birds that he feels have the 'biggest heart' in the animal kingdom. TAKING ON TYSON peels back new layers of the remarkable persona and deep humanity of Mike Tyson while also showing us a whole world we never knew existed right on the rooftops of New York City."
PETA states that pigeon racing is cruel, forcing birds to fly through extreme heat and weather conditions as they travel sometimes 500 miles to get back home. PETA also claims that pigeon breeders who are dissatisfied with the performance of a bird in a race simply kill the birds by wringing their necks. The organizaiton is also urging people to jump into the campaign to stop Take on Tyson by writing to Animal Planet to request more animal conservation or protection shows while pressuring the television mogul to cancel Take on Tyson.
Neither Tyson nor Animal Planet are commenting on the investigation. The show is scheduled to be aired in 2011, if it is allowed by the Brooklyn District Attorney. It is not known when the DA will make a decision on the television show.
Tyson grew up in the school of hard knocks and his life has always been troubled. Tyson is known for his hard-line attitude, as demonstrated in this quote from 1988, "When I fight someone, I want to break his will. I want to take his manhood. I want to rip out his heart and show it to him." Convicted of rape in 1991, Tyson has been in the public eye for his violent and reckless behaviour for many years. Last year, Tyson's four year daughter died in a tragic accident.
The State of New York allows betting on horse races, as well as gambling through state lotteries.
More about Peta, Mike tyson, Pigeon racing, Gambling, New york
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