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Security check for 10,000 pigeons in China

Pigeon
Tim Graham | Getty Images

Some pigeons received a special examination for security purposes ahead of China's National Day on Wednesday.

Prior to the traditional annual release of the birds, each pigeon received an "anal security check for suspicious objects," the Chinese state-owned newspaper People's Daily reported.

The government-backed Beijing Times also reported the birds were collected from four local carrier pigeon associations. In return for 4 yuan (65 cents in USD) and a participation stamp on their membership card, members offered the 10,000 birds, which been trained for more than half a year.

In the full-page feature, the article described how a reporter accompanied pigeon association members in the West District to Beijing's Yuetan Sports Center at 8 p.m. the evening before the ceremony.

Members examined the wings, tails, anuses and legs of each pigeon for "suspicious objects" and video recorded the process, the report said. Four trucks then took the birds about 4 miles east to Tiananmen Square at 25 mph to prevent carsickness.

Representing peace, the birds were released at Tiananmen Square during the flag rising at sunrise on Wednesday in honor of China's National Day, which celebrates the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

As carrier pigeons, the birds return to their owners in about 10 minutes, one member told the Beijing Times.

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In 2013, Chinese state media also reported that 60,000 carrier pigeons were injected with a vaccine as a precaution against the H7N9 bird flu virus.