Iron Mike Tyson is getting ready to make his debut as a reality TV star — and as usual here comes PETA to rain on the parade.
Tyson, a lifelong pigeon keeper, will star in a series about bird racing premiering on Animal Planet early next year, and the outspoken animal rights advocates are protesting the show’s exploitation of the birds.
The show, to be called Taking on Tyson, pits Tyson and his birds against the best racing-pigeon owners in New York. The former boxer who spent time in jail or rape in the early 90s still owns several hundred birds. For the show, Tyson turned his birds over to a cigar-smoking pigeon trainer, Vinnie Torre, who is getting them ready for the competition.
Even though Taking on Tyson doesn’t debut until 2011, the folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are already complaining.
“One wonders whether Mike Tyson — as a self-appointed ambassador of and ‘rookie’ to pigeon racing — realizes that just as losing racehorses end up in the glue factory, these gentle, loyal birds who race their hearts out in order to get home to their life mates often become lost in storms or have their necks wrung for failing to beat their competitors’ time,” the animal rights organization’s president, Ingrid Newkirk told PopEater.com on Monday.
The show begins shooting next month in Brooklyn.