Wimbledon under fire for pigeon cull
LONDON -- Wimbledon came under fire from animal activists on Tuesday for using marksmen to shoot down dive-bombing pigeons.
The tournament employs two hawks to scare away pigeons who had become a pest swooping down on Centre Court and distracting players in the middle of tense matches.
But the hawks failed to keep the pigeons away from the players' lawn and the open-air media restaurant so marksmen were called in.
"The hawks are our first line of deterrent, and by and large they do the job," Wimbledon spokesman Johnny Perkins said.
"But unfortunately there were one or two areas where the hawks didn't deter the pigeons, so it was deemed necessary to take a harder approach," he explained.
The marksmen were summoned by Wimbledon as pigeon droppings on the restaurant tables were thought to be a health hazard.
The decision to call in the marksmen was condemned as "cruel and illegal behavior" by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which complained to the tournament organizers and the police.
"Since the use of marksmen to kill pigeons appears to have been carried out as a first, rather than a last, resort and not out of a concern for public health but rather because the animals were deemed inconvenient by players, you appear to be in clear violation of the law," PETA vice president Bruce Friedrich said.
MORE TENNIS HEADLINES
- Djokovic eases into Indian Wells semifinals
- Radwanska scoots by Halep in BNP Paribas
- Azarenka out of Key Biscayne for foot injury
- St. Louis to host U.S.-France in Fed Cup match
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
ESPN Classic will replay Rafael Nadal's epic five-set victory over Roger Federer in the men's final on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.
• Bob Bryan beats brother Mike in mixed doubles
• Garber: Nadal muscles his way to championship
• Ubha: Top five Wimbledon finals
• Harwitt: Loss a microcosm of Federer's year
• Ubha: Wimbledon men's final instant analysis
• Bodo: Nadal shows plenty of courage
Day 13 • Women | Scores
• Garber: Venus finally stands up to little sister
• Ubha: Williamses match competitive and clean
• Garber: Borg the man in the middle
• Ubha: Wimbledon women's final instant analysis
• Who will win the Wimbledon men's singles final?
• Bodo: Five reasons Nadal can win
Day 12 • Men | Scores
• Garber: Best friends set to do battle again
• Harwitt: Coach-less Federer ready for title
• Ubha: Nadal clearly in Federer's head
• Who will win the Wimbledon women's final?
Day 11 • Men | Women | Scores
• Garber: Time is now for Nadal at Wimbledon
• Ubha: Top Williams sisters moments
• Grass Stains: Williamses ready for showdown
• Tennis.com: Rafa will win Wimbledon
Day 10 • Men | Scores
• Wimbledon women's court schedule troubles WTA
• Ubha: Federer serving lights out
• Nadal blog: Happy to get by Murray
• Garber: Venus is best grass-courter of generation
• Star Watch: Safin looking confident again
Day 9 • Women | Scores
• Garber: Williams sisters crushing opponents
• Ford: Ancic hoping to take care of Federer again
• Chip and Charge: Olympics taking center stage
• Ubha: Can Murray maintain momentum Day 8 • Men | Women | Scores
• Garber: Unpredictability in women's tennis
• Grass Stains: Valiant determination from Lopez
• Star Watch: Murray electifies hometown crowd Day 7 • Ford: Midway at Wimbledon report
• Ubha: Breaking down the final 16 in each bracket
See all stories from Week 1