New York, Mar 22 (ANI): PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are up in arms against boxer Mike Tyson's plans to host a reality show featuring pigeon racing.
The group wants Brooklyn prosecutors to ground the new Animal Planet show, "Taking on Tyson", which depicts races between the ubiquitous New York birds.
PETA says the show is cruel because it exploits pigeons and glorifies an abusive sport.
"It is inherently cruel," the New York Daily News quoted PETA general counsel Jeffrey Kerr as saying.
"The birds often end up lost in storms, being injured, or just becoming so exhausted that they're unable to fly.
"Pigeon racing as an industry involves gambling. That's why people do it, to make money," Kerr said.
Bets will likely be placed over the outcome of races featured on the show, he said.
He insisted District Attorney Charles Hynes should probe the Brooklyn-based show and "make sure the production is not allowed to go forward if illegal activity is going to take place".
"We received the letter and we're looking into it," Jonah Bruno, a spokesman for Hynes, said.
Animal Planet spokeswoman Patricia Kollappallil said the complaints are unfounded.
"There have never been any plans for wagering on the pigeon race," she said.
"The birds will be cherished and respected by their owners, including Mr. Tyson," she added.
The network says the show will start filming in Brooklyn next month and air next year.
It promises an inside look at "the intensely competitive and bizarrely fascinating world of pigeon racing".
The show stars the Brownsville-bred Tyson, who claims to have raised pigeons all his life but never raced them competitively before.
"We love these birds," Tyson said.
"It feels good returning to the rooftops of the city where it all started for me," he added. (ANI)