You read it right, the Animal Planet is said to be coming out with a Mike Tyson pigeon racing show in 2011. The show will feature Iron Mike training and racing the birds as part of a highly controversial sport often compared to the likes of dog-fighting. Read the full story and see pictures and video below!
How does anyone come up with such a crazy idea? Well apparently the former boxing champ has had an affinity for birds since his youth. In fact, it’s reported that he began his boxing career after beating the tar out of some bullies who were torturing his pet birds. Now, in what some say is just another payday, he will raise and train birds to race in Animal Planet’s new show “Taking on Tyson.”
Winged rats, as some call them, have incredible endurance and an ability to home over huge distances, making them ideal for racing. And training them can be painstaking (not sure if that’s the ideal job for a man with such a short temper). Marjorie Kaplan, president of Animal Planet Media says:
“To rear, train and race pigeons – or “homers” – requires dedication and tenderness. For many pigeon racers, these avian athletes are the king of the bird world. Their intelligence, spirit, titanic bonders of loyalty and astounding homing ability sets them apart from other birds”
Talking about his participation in the Mike Tyson pigeon racing show, the former heavyweight said:
“I’m honored to be a part of this monumental show on Animal Planet. I feel a great pride acting as an official representative for all the pigeon fancier’s out there. I want people to see why we love these birds. It feels good returning to the rooftops of the city where it all started for me — New York.”
Still, animal rights groups such as PETA are up in arms that the network would glorify the purportedly cruel sport. PETA’s president says:
“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.”
I can’t really argue with that. Still, I see a big opportunity for Animal Planet here. I think they should make the show “Mike Tyson: Pigeon Rescuer,” and have him go around bullying all of underground bird racers out there. Money in the bank.
All kidding aside, I guess we’ll see how it turns out in 2011. Until then, check out the pictures and a video of The Baddest Man on the Planet’s pigeon collection from Jimmy Kimmel live below!
Photos: www.wenn.com, Jeff Daly, Jody Cortes, Adriana M. Barraza, Mary Ann Owen, Judy Eddy, Noam Nitzani