We’re not quite sure what to make of this story: According to the BBC, authorities in California are to use birth control drugs to cull the pigeon population in Hollywood. Small amounts of a drug called OvoControl P will be placed in bird food in new rooftop feeders around the city. The drug interferes with egg production, and should therefore keep the population down without the need for poisons or gates that give electric shocks. Apparently this relatively humane approach has won the support of animal rights’ activists, although amazingly the report says nothing about the environmental implications of actively putting this drug into the food chain. We already know that human birth control medicines can have a dire effect on fish, so we’d be a little concerned as to what OvoControl P can do to raptors that may pray on pigeons, or what would happen if the drug got into aquatic systems.
Innolytics, the company that produces the OvoControl P claim that such fears are unfounded. They have an FAQ on their website addressing the environmental impacts of the drug, claiming that once the drug is digested, it is no longer available to another bird, and also that it has very poor water solubility, and degrades safely in soil. Anyone know any more about this? On the one hand we can see the value in reducing feral pigeon populations, and we don’t suppose they can be retrained to monitor pollution like some of their cousins, but do we really need more pharmaceutical chemicals in our environment, and can we be sure it's safe? Wouldn’t it make more sense to first safely and hygienically recycle all the food waste that urban pigeon populations thrive on? Somehow his smacks of treating the symptom, not the disease. ::Innolytics:: via BBC::