In a potential bout of heavyweight proportions, animal rights group PETA has put itself into the ring against controversial former boxing champion Mike Tyson.
The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals has alleged that Tyson's new reality show about pigeon racing involves cruelty to animals and illegal gambling.
PETA outlined the allegation in a letter March 18 to the Brooklyn district attorney's office calling for an investigation into the pigeon races.
Tyson, who has raised pigeons all his life, will train and participate in races as part of the show, to be broadcast on Animal Planet in 2011.
Animal Planet, a television network that advocates animal rights, denied PETA's allegations, with a spokeswoman saying that the birds "are cherished and respected by their owners, including Mr. Tyson."
"There have never been any plans for wagering on the pigeon race," the spokeswoman said, adding that the show is just an inside look at "the intensely competitive and bizarrely fascinating world of pigeon racing."
The folks at PETA are not shy from complaints against high-profile figures. Last June, the organization attacked US President Barack Obama after he was filmed swatting a fly during an interview with NBC at the White House.
In response to this latest complaint from PETA, a spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney said that they are "looking into" the matter described in the letter.