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Animal sanctuary issues warning after taking in pigeon used for gender-reveal party: 'The bird has to live with that for the rest of its life'

"You just don't know what might happen."

"You just don't know what might happen."

Photo Credit: iStock

An animal sanctuary in South Killingholme, England, is asking people to stop dyeing birds for gender reveal parties after taking in a bright pink pigeon, according to the BBC.

The pigeon, named Polly by caretakers, had her wings and feet dyed pink and yellow in what sanctuary founder Shena Fairless believes was for a baby gender reveal celebration. Photos of Polly shared by the Pudz Animal Sanctuary on Facebook on May 31 quickly went viral, sparking a heated discussion.

In the post, the sanctuary explained that dyeing birds doesn't just pose risks from the harsh chemicals in the dye, but it also makes them far more vulnerable to predators in the wild.

"Some dyes have a strong odour which can cause respiratory problems, chemicals can be ingested when the bird preens and these birds are often too tame to release," the sanctuary posted. "Do not do this, you can enjoy an event peacefully without exploiting and harming animals."

"It's just for a few minutes of entertainment, then the bird has to live with that for the rest of its life," Fairless told the BBC. "You just don't know what might happen."

This sad story shines a light on how our personal choices, even made with celebratory intentions, can have serious unintended consequences for animals. It's a poignant reminder of why being mindful of our impact on the creatures we share this planet with matters so much.

Luckily, Polly is now safe and settling in well at the sanctuary. "She's made some friends, she's eating well, and she's trying to fly," Fairless reported. Still, no animal should have to go through an ordeal like this.

The RSPCA issued a similar plea earlier this year, noting that the popularity of gender reveals on social media may be fueling more of these incidents. Dyeing or painting bird feathers can render them unable to fly, the animal welfare charity warned.

While most of us look forward to celebrating meaningful milestones with loved ones, it's important to consider how we can make those special moments memorable without inadvertently harming animals or the environment.

With a little thoughtfulness and creativity, our festivities can be just as joyful — and far safer.

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