Around 85,000 pigeons roam around the city, but the birth control method is expected to be approved by the region’s animal protection society.
After a full census is carried out between December and February, some 40 pigeon-food dispensers laced with contraceptive drugs will be set up around the metropolitan area.
This is expected to cut the pigeon population by 20% in the first year, and between 70% and 80% in four to five years.
Until now, pigeons had been captured and culled, causing an outcry among animal-lovers.
But the census and ‘contraceptive food dispenser’ scheme will be conducted by the veterinary department at Barcelona Autonomous University, a doctor from the Natural Sciences Museum, and the environment and public health department of the regional government, meaning it will be as humane as possible and will not mean any pigeons being killed.
The Commission for the Protection of Animal Rights from Barcelona College of Law, together with some 152 pro-animal associations in Catalunya, have championed the move as an ethical, effective and economical method of keeping the pigeon population to a manageable size.
Catching and culling, as well as cruel, creates ‘changes in the ecosystem’ which will bring about ‘nefarious consequences’, the College of Law and animal protection groups warn.