Fears latest Brexit casualty is pigeon racing as French quarantine British birds

Many pigeon fanciers fear it will boil down to Brexit as the French government has started quarantining UK birds for three weeks, but failed to do the same for Irish birds.

Pigeon racing is a British tradition

The latest victim of Brexit could be… pigeon racing.

Representatives of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association want the UK government to intervene after the French government began quarantining UK birds for three weeks before they can race.

Talks are underway between governments and hobbyists await a response on why their birds fall into the latest round of stipulations by next week.

Many, including Scott Robertson, think it comes down to one thing … Brexit.

Scott, from Aberdeen, keeps over 80 carrier pigeons in his lofts and recently participated in a national bird liberation on the day of Prince Philip’s funeral in honor of the Duke of Edinburgh, who was a fan of pigeon racing.

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The French government has started quarantining UK birds before they can run from France



He said: “Pigeons from Ireland are still allowed to fly from France, but birds from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland are not.

“All the birds are vaccinated, so for me it can only be after Brexit.

“I know a lot of racers from the south send their pigeons to France to prepare them for long distances and think these changes might prevent them from playing our sport.”

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Some of the most important pursuit races take place in parts of France, such as Flanders Field, where many pigeon fanciers use the trip to pay their respects to soldiers who died on the battlefields of World War I.

Under EU rules that came into effect last week, British birds must be detained for three weeks and a note from a veterinarian must be obtained before they can be released in France for transmanches races.

This prompted some pigeon owners to claim that the birds would be unfit to compete after being caged for such a period, plus the additional cash cost.

Pigeons shouldn’t be in a cage that long if they have to run


Getty Images / iStockphoto)

In an effort to continue to train their birds and keep the tradition alive, birds had to be sent to either end of the UK to simulate the distances they would normally cover from France.

The Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also wrote a report on the risk of birds spreading avian flu abroad.

In the report released earlier this month, it was determined that “a medium risk level would apply for countries such as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, where cases of wild birds are high and intercourse is frequent “.

He added: “For other regions the risk is considered low, for example in southern Europe (eg southern France and Spain) where cases in wild birds are low and rare. “

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