A downtown park yesterday shut down its pigeon area after visitors complained about its poor environment and that the owner was secretly "killing and selling" pigeons on the site.
Yangpu Park on Kongjiang Road suspended all the activities involved in its "pigeon court" in the west section of the park from yesterday.
Previously, visitors could pay to feed the pigeons or pose in front of the pigeon houses. Over 100 pigeons were kept in a row of wooden houses near the park's children playground.
Visitors told the Shanghai Daily that the owner of the pigeon court sold "wild and old" pigeons to regular park users, with prices ranging up to 100 yuan (.70) for a fully developed pigeon.
Customers can point to the pigeon they wanted, and the owner will catch it with a webbed pouch, kill it and remove its feathers on site, visitors said.
Many old customers come to the park to buy pigeons as they believed the birds were fresher and more nutritious than those sold in the wet markets, an operator of the court said.
"The park decided to close the court and relocate the pigeons, because many visitors complained about the environmental problems of the pigeon courts recently," the management of the park said.
In a statement posted at the site, the park management said environmental issues were the major concern. The site lies beside a large public plaza where many children play on skateboards or ride bicycles.
Most of the pigeons had been moved to inside the wooden houses yesterday, though some still sunbathed on the rooftops.
"It's a pity that the pigeons have to be relocated," the owner said yesterday. He declined to speak further on the matter.
Another operator of the pigeon court said live pigeons could still be sold. "You can take it to the wet market to ask for the killing and cleaning services," he admitted. "But killing on site must be forbidden."
The park management initially rented the area to the pigeon owner. However, the pigeon watching and feeding services were later upgraded to killing and selling, a regular visitor to the park said yesterday. Dust, feathers and smells marked the pigeon court, he said.