Stop Symbolic Practice of Releasing Doves


Target: Pope Francis

Goal: End the practice of releasing peace doves in Rome

Doves are often released as a sign of peace and love. In Rome, from a Vatican window, two doves were recently released by children in an effort to spread a message of peace and hope. However, the doves were attacked by a seagull and crow within moments of being released, mauled and brutally bullied by these larger birds. Videos of the attack flooded the internet and media, as bystanders watched in horror as the birds were victimized. To many, this incident spread the opposite of the intended message—one foreshadowing violence, hopelessness, war and despair. Tell Pope Francis to stop this inhumane practice and save beautiful, innocent doves from being preyed upon.

Domestic doves are gentle creatures that sadly are easy targets for predatory birds due to their stark, white color. They are inexperienced in dealing with threatening species, and are unable to recognize their predators in time to escape. This practice is rooted in the Biblical story of Noah, who released a dove from the ark after the great flood, now associated with the peace God made with man after the flood was over. Though the Pope’s intentions are pure, there are more humane ways to share a symbol of peace in the modern world.

Ask Pope Francis to replace the dove-releasing tradition with a more humane option that does not end in violence or death for the doves subject to this practice. The children, together with the Pope, could plant white poppies or fly kites with the image of a dove on it, or create banners with messages of peace. There are countless ways to encourage peace without putting innocent animals in danger.


Dear Pope Francis,

Thank you for your commitment to promoting peace in the world, and for sharing that message with others. However, the recent incident in which innocent domestic doves were brutally attacked by larger, predatory birds is a sure sign that releasing doves is not the way to promote peace. Though this is a practice rooted in Biblical truth, in today’s modern world it is inhumane, and unnecessary, to release doves into an unfamiliar environment to be preyed upon and killed. This incident made bystanders think not of peace, but of war, violence, and despair, the opposite of your initial intention.

Doves are gentle, beautiful creatures, but are inexperienced in dealing with predators. They stand out to predators due to their striking white hue, and are unable to flee due to their unsuspecting ways. Doves should not be subjected to this kind of torture. Please, find other ways to send a message of peace to the world, and protect these innocent animals from further harm.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Alex O’Neil via Flickr

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