One part of Indonesia has experienced an unusual surge in divorce rates, attributing it to the pigeon-racing addiction that has gotten out of hand.

According to an official at the Religious Court in Purbalingga, Central Java province, their office received 90 divorce petitions in July alone, which is a dramatic increase compared to just 13 in June, the Jakarta Post reports.

Most of the divorce petitioners are women, for a number of obvious reasons, especially financial, as men are racing pigeons instead of working and thus helping their wives feed their families.

“Most of the petitioners are wives who have filed divorce petitions for economic reasons because their husbands are too addicted to pigeon racing,” court clerk Nur Aflah.

“In Purbalingga, there are many female workers while most men are unemployed. Most of the husbands end up becoming ‘pilots’. Here, a ‘pilot’ does not fly a plane but races pigeons,” she explained.

Neglect is also another important reason, as husbands seem to be spending way too much quality time with the birds instead with their families. Things are made even worse because pigeon racing is usually accompanied by gambling on the potential winners. This habit has apparently further deteriorated the families’ financial situations.

The court has ordered the local government and clerics to try and reduce the divorce rate in this regency by talking with the men and providing advice. A similar phenomenon has also been reported in Banyumas, Central Java.

His bird is the first thing he grabs when he wakes up. At around 10 o’clock, he goes out with his friends to play with their pigeons in the fields nearby,” said Sartini, 35, a villager of Bojongsari. Although her husband sometimes gives her money from his winnings in pigeon races, he more often asks her for money for cigarettes.

Interestingly, the last pigeon to return to the coop is declared the winner, not the first.


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