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People Are Still Gluing Hats to Pigeons' Heads and This Time It's So Much Worse

Of course now they're MAGA caps. Can we all agree to just leave birds alone?

by Jelisa Castrodale
Feb 21 2020, 8:40pm

Photo via Getty Images / Composite by VICE Staff

In the hours before Wednesday's Democratic Presidential debate, before Elizabeth Warren used her impeccably assembled talking points to verbally throw hands, before Bernie Sanders ripped Pete Buttigieg for his "billionaire donors," and before Michael Bloomberg subjected himself to the most thorough beating anyone has seen on television since The Undertaker threw Mankind off Hell in a Cell, a self-described "underground radical group" was doing its part to, like, own the libs or whatever.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, an organization that calls itself P.U.T.I.N. (an acronym for 'Pigeons United to Interfere Now') glued miniature red Make America Great Again hats to pigeons' heads and released them into the city, which hosted the debate. One of the birds was given a tiny orange Donald Trump wig, because... reasons, we guess.

“The release date was coordinated to serve as a gesture of support and loyalty to President Trump,” a group member who calls himself—sigh—Coo Hand Luke told the outlet "P.U.T.I.N. values its cause over celebrity. The aim of this project is to draw attention to the art and the message, not those behind it."

It's unclear what that message might be, other than 'Fuck pigeons.' The organization claimed to be inspired by Operation Tacana, a recently declassified mid-1970s CIA mission that involved attaching small cameras to pigeons in the hopes that they would be able to take photos of "priority intelligence targets" in the former Soviet Union.

The P.U.T.I.N. spokesperson said that the group had been planning this event for months, and had been collecting pigeons and housing them in a coop that they set up somewhere in or around the city. "A lot of the time they are found with stringfoot, and we nurse them back to health," Luke said. "A lot of them are malnourished, and we feed them a variety of seeds.”

He also claimed the hats had been attached with eyelash glue, a method that he believes is harmless to the birds. ("I don’t see the difference between this or people dressing up their dogs or cats," he said, which makes us wonder what kind of adhesive he puts inside his dog's sweater.)

Lofty Hopes, a Las Vegas nonprofit that rescues and rehabilitates pigeons, isn't buying the argument that the hats don't negatively affect the birds. "The type of glue used is insignificant. The hats impair the bird's vision, leaving them more prone to predation, window strikes, being hit by cars, etc," it wrote on its Facebook page.

"The group claims the birds will return to the loft, but we intake numerous pigeons such as racing pigeons and wedding release doves (pigeons), who should return to their loft and can't due to injury [...] Using animals to benefit humans is a disgraceful misuse of their trust in us. Whether it's for profit, to eat, to wear, for tradition, to gain notoriety, or to make a political statement."

The Review-Journal reported that P.U.T.I.N. did not take credit for the cowboy hat-wearing pigeons that were seen in Las Vegas in December. Some still unknown individual or group glued tiny red cowboy hats to at least four birds; Lofty Hopes was ultimately able to locate three of the birds, although one of them died in the organization's care.

As of this writing, Lofty Hopes has found four of the MAGA pigeons, and it is trying to safely trap the others. "Fingers crossed," it wrote on Facebook.

Yeah, fingers crossed that people stop pretending that their shitty crafts project means something, or signifies anything other than "We're assholes who can purchase art supplies."

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