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This is the MacArthur competition the Philippines' longest homing pigeon race.It's a nefarious side effect of the hobby's swelling popularity in the Philippines, where there are now at least 300 clubs counting thousands of members.In March, a Chinese buyer spent a record 1.25 million euros ($1.4 million) at an auction for Belgium's best long-distance racing pigeon of all time.Fancier Mary Grace San Jose, 38, is from the poor district of Tondo in Manila and says one draw is that racing is open to everyone.Worried parentsMost of the rest of the homing pigeons are picked off by hungry predator birds, felled by tropical heat and exhaustion or even the occasional typhoon in a competition that lasts at least 10 hours.For Ashley Fruno, of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals group, the three sea crossings in the MacArthur race, rather than poachers, are to blame for the 90 percent casualty rate, which she says is among the world's deadliest.
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