Venice Squawking Over Pigeons

City wants to say arrivederci to the foul fowl
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2008 12:58 PM CST
ITALY. Venice. 2002. Child feeding pigeons in St. Mark's Square. (NYC30221)   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – Venice's pigeons are nearly as famous as its gondolas, but the days of tourists feeding pigeon in St. Mark's Square could be numbered, reports Der Speigel. Venice has one of the highest pigeon-to-person ratios of any city in the world, and fed-up city politicians want to remove the square's exemption from a 1997 law banning feeding the birds.

Proximity to pigeons can cause health problems, especially for children and the elderly, and Venetian officials say that pigeon droppings are eroding the historic stone of the square itself. But 18 vendors make a living selling birdseed in the square and they're not happy about the threat to their livelihoods. "It's absurd to take away our jobs like this. We have to live," squawked one.