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Singapore tries oral contraceptive on pigeons

Singapore: Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is piloting a new trial to control the soaring pigeon numbers, the media reported on Thursday.

The trial, which started in October and which will take a year to complete, involves feeding the pigeons a corn-based feed containing nicarbazin, a drug which functions as an oral contraceptive for birds, Channel News Asia reported.

It can stop female birds from producing eggs, but even if they are laid, they may not hatch.

The feed will be just another form of consumption for male birds, as they do not produce eggs.

According to the AVA, it will not harm other animals or humans if accidentally consumed in small doses. It would take 40 kg of the feed to see toxic effects in dogs and cats, and 60 kg for a child.

The pigeon numbers at Palmer Road has grown in recent years. Today it stands at around 400, compared to 200 in 2013. This has caused hygiene and environmental issues in the area.

The main reason for this increase is members of the public feeding the pigeons.

The AVA has been taking enforcement action against feeders, and 13 feeders were caught at Palmer Road between January to October this year.

If the results are successful, the AVA said it may use the feed to control the pigeon numbers in other parts of Singapore.