When you think of a wedding ceremony, what usually comes to mind? White, A new beginning, friends & family; the list goes on. Out of all the things that could come to one’s mind; death is most likely not what would be associated with a wedding.
A very common occasion at Weddings and other ceremonies is to release a pair of Doves as Doves only ever have one partner in their lifetime so people release them to symbolize peace, love, purity, and fidelity. What a large majority of people wouldn’t realize is that white & ringneck Doves have no natural instincts AT ALL; they are domestic animals who should not be thrown out into the wild. Unlike homing pigeons which are trained to be released & find their way home again, white & ringneck Doves are unable to navigate their way back to safety (have you ever heard of a homing dove?). As they are white they are noticed by predators very easily, and are unable to defend themselves; their beaks are so weak they can’t even break seed (they have to eat seed whole), let alone scare away an attacker. These Doves are not able to be trained like homing pigeons; they are kept in cages all their lives and then released without warning becoming anxious and disorientated.
You may remember seeing in the news recently the headline “Pope’s Dove of Peace Attacked by Seagull of Irony”, and maybe heard of on other occasions Doves had even tried flying back inside after the Pope had released them.
Businesses and careless Event Planners that thrive on the cruel release of doves will have you believe that their doves are trained to return home safely, however this is not the case. Most people would think that being as it costs around $200 for a pair of Doves to be released at your ceremony the owners would be eager to find the Doves as soon as they released them, unfortunately for the poor little Doves they are quite disposable; you can purchase a Dove for about $20.
To the point; nearly all white & ringtail doves released for ceremonies do not survive, they simply do not know how, they are a captive bred animal. I was not aware of how tragic the release of these beautiful birds was until recently when I found a Dove close to death, sitting on a footpath trying to cool down by leaning up against a cold window. I can say without a doubt this Dove would have died had I not found it; I took her home and gave her food and water.
I listed several ads online about finding her as I was sure she was someone’s pet for the fact of how comfortable she was being handled. I searched online for people who had lost pets but found nothing. I grew anxious waiting for her owner to call, but no one did. I soon realized that she had probably been released for a wedding and was horrified by the fact that no one had reported missing doves or called to claim her, it made me sad to realize that the people who released her didn’t care and that she may have lost her lifetime partner in the process; they would just breed more doves to release. She was disposable to them and didn’t matter to them if she pined for her partner.
So please ban the release of Doves at ceremonies. Regardless of the intention to represent purity, love, peace and all those other lovely things, in my opinion killing a pair of birds or a small flock is not a good symbol to base a wedding on.