by Daelyn Fortney
Categories: Film/TV
Tags: .
Photo: Animal Planet

Animal Planet has announced plans for a new show with Mike Tyson called “Taking On Tyson” where the former heavyweight boxer introduces viewers to the competitive world of pigeon racing. “Taking On Tyson” will explore pigeon auctions, rearing, and competitions as Tyson challenges some of the best pigeon racing owners in the city.

Unknown to some, Tyson has a deep passion for pigeons and has raised the feathered friends all of his life.

“I’m honored to be a part of this monumental show on Animal Planet,” says Tyson, who’s first ever fight as a child was in defense of his birds. “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.”

“Tyson’s passion for his pigeons takes my breath away,” explains Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet Media. “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.”

Tyson will serve as the executive producer for the show which is expected to start filming this spring in New York City and debut in early 2011.

  • Chastity

    I was happy to hear that Mike Tyson likes pigeons.

    Then I read that he loves them so much that he wants to devote a show to pigeon racing. When will we learn to stop using nonhuman animals for entertainment?

  • Christine

    I think it’s great Tyson loves pigeons….but I don’t think animal planet should endorse pigeon racing (or any type of animal racing).

    Also, please tell me my eyes are deceiving me and that Tyson is not wearing a fur hat in this picture…

    • Brendan

      Pigeon racing is definitely different than other animal racing, they don’t do anything to the animals that overworks them or is in anyway out of the ordinary for the bird, they simply take them to a designated location and release them and the first one back is the winner…simple as that. Now obviously the quality of life that the birds have is dependent on who is raising them…but thats with anything and you have your good and bad people. The bad owners certainly should not have the privilege of raising them.

      • Chastity

        Nobody should be using them as their playthings in the first place. Treatment is completely irrelevant.

      • Brendan

        What a sad life you lead, you feel that you cannot even experience playing with animals! All the things on the earth are here for man to protect for one, but also to enjoy and experience. I guess if you cant have pigeons for pets, then you shouldn’t have Dogs or Cats either. I do not see the point of the animals even being here on earth if we aren’t allowed to interact with them. Dogs chase sticks, cats swat at stuff, pigeons fly, its all normal behavior and good owners are not exploiting any of these animals by playing with them.

      • kenji

        we pigeon owners take the best care for our pigeon. sometimes we have more time in our pigeons than in our own family. we never abuse our pigeon. the sad thing is we only take care who is the best.

    • Kev

      Omg I think he is wearing a fur hat.

  • http://ecorazzi Artemis Asproyerakas

    I have always appreciated the beauty and character of pigeons and felt that they were much maligned, especially in the city. I am happy to see that a show like this is being produced. Now, if they could just do a show on rats.

  • Chastity

    Brendan, where would you get that idea? Just because I don’t make animals race, fight, and perform for me, it doesn’t mean that I don’t get joy from playing with them. Pigeons don’t race. They just hang out and fly. Why must we make them do things for us? Why can’t we let them be? This is another nuance of nonhuman slavery that is often overlooked. We need to stop thinking “if the animal isn’t being abused, then it’s not cruel.”

    • David

      Slavery!! come on Chastity, that’s just ridiculously ludicrous. These animals are adored by their owners, they have a symbiotic relationship. Sometimes the activists go so far as to be detrimental to there cause. I befreinded an old man who raised pigeons growing up in New York. He fed them provided them with a coupe, which they were free to come and go as they please from, and most of all, loved them. They were his family. He was a slave to them and wouldn’t have it any other way. In racing they’re doing what they love and what is naturally inherent of them. The only thing the owners do is provide them a place to live, eat and be loved. Oh the humanity!!

      • Brendan

        David nailed it! These “races” aren’t anything like the races you’re probably thinking of, they simply release the bird into the wild and the bird automatically flies to its home roost, they aren’t being forced to fly any faster than they feel comfortable with and there is absolutely no human involvement in the race itself. Again I will tell you that raising pigeons is no different than having a dog or a cat for a pet, and the races are no different than taking your dog out for a walk. If you don’t believe me, do some research.

  • Chastity

    It’s so easy for you to dismiss this because it’s entertaining YOU. Some nonhuman animals will do things any way although they may not want to. Assuming that “they love it!” doesn’t cut it. Why not give them the benefit of the doubt by NOT making them entertain you? Giving them food, water and love is enough.

    • Abe

      You are the biggest killjoy in the world. Nobody can do anything involving animals without ruffling your feathers.

  • alex

    I’m with Chastity on this one. This is just another form of exploitation, done with love or not…To understand this you have to look beyond the technicalities and see the bigger picture. This type of activity leads to the commercial breeding of pigeons, and with breeding there are always those “only profit matter” people (think puppy mills, etc.) miserable conditions, etc.

    And yes, it looks like he’s wearing both a fur collar and a fur hat.

    • Chastity

      alex, you said it better than I could.

      Nonhuman animal exploitation literally is a vicious circle. There’s a good reason why people abhor dog racing and horse racing aside from the inevitable slaughter. It is the blatant commodification of them. Pigeons are no different. Different species, yes. Different beings, no. In addition, nonhuman animals who race routinely injure themselves. Even if they don’t injure themselves, it still doesn’t make it okay for us to use them.

      • Brendan

        Do some freakin research on pigeon racing, you’ll find that the points you’re making are completely unfounded. The birds are free to make whatever pace that they want to get home and are basically released to the wild, so they have a lot of freedom, if they don’t want to return they don’t have to…but most do because of instinct. I agree that animals should not be abused I’m am all for animal rights don’t get me wrong, but as someone that has been around pigeon fanciers and enjoyed these birds for many many years, I know that there is nothing wrong with raising these birds as pets. Yes there is probably some people that abuse their birds… those people need to be dealt with separately but don’t kill the joy that the good people get out of having pigeons as pets. If I could still have pigeons I would, but I can’t at this point in my life…so I will enjoy watching this program on animal planet, and there is nothing that ignorant, self righteous people such as yourselves can do to stop that. Good luck in your, “mission” to save the world, and may you pick your fights more wisely in the future.



  • Chastity

    Brendan, I didn’t even bother reading the rest of your paragraph after having read your first sentence lecturing me to do my research. My point completely went over your head. Are you in that much denial? You can find ways to entertain yourself without the inclusion of animals. How hard of a concept is that? If you really loved pigeons (and other nonhuman animals), then you wouldn’t make them do things that they may not want to do. There is no mutual agreement. That’s you assuming that they are consenting to it. And them obeying you doesn’t insinuate consent nor does it insinuate enjoyment on their part. Like alex said, I can see this turning into a for-profit venture. People are going to capitalize on this. But even then, doing it for hobby or sheer satisfaction on a human being’s part is still unethical. Brendan, get over it. You’re not going to convince me otherwise.

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  • kenji

    for those people who think raising pigeon is cruelty. please try to own one first. then you’ll see how happy you will become. try to buy from the best pigeon club in your location.