Wednesday, 5 Oct 2022

EU madness as France ‘imposing rules’ which risks destruction of 125-year-old sport in UK

Pigeon racing fanciers breath a sigh of relief

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UK pigeon racing fanciers lost the privilege of free movement on December 31 when the UK left the Brexit transition period and the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union. Since the implementation of the new tough measures, which came into force after a short transition period, transportation as well as acquiring the necessary health certificates, have been made nearly impossible for British pigeon racing enthusiasts.

The rules mean that pigeons cannot be transported to France without several health certificates and a 21-day quarantine.

Ian Evans, the CEO of the Royal Pigeon Association, told “I think the EU is overkilling in terms of the risk associated with racing pigeons.

“The previous EU regulations actually made such activity exempt from any animal health requirements when moving them from another country to the EU, because they acknowledged the risk of spreading any diseases is nearly impossible.”

According to Mr Evans, every UK racing pigeon is vaccinated annually against Newcastle disease and the risk of influenza spreading among the birds is minimal.

He claims the EU is requiring a lot of “unnecessary paperwork” that makes the possibility of racing on the continent impossible.

The Royal Pigeon Association has raised questions as to why the regulations are in place, but they are yet to receive an answer.

Mr Evans said: “I don’t know why the regulations are in place.

“The EU brought in those new regulations on the 21st of April this year.

“Under the previous regulations, the pigeons were exempt from any health requirements.”

He added: ”We managed to secure a kind of transitional period of six months, but during that transitional period member states could apply their own national rules, and the French are imposing rules that are much of an overkill.”

Pigeon racing has been a sport for around 125 years, according to The Royal Pigeon Racing Association, and many people are very passionate about it.

And the regulations have had a “detrimental” effect on pigeon fanciers, according to Mr Evans.

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He said: “This kind of historic activity has been taken away from them for no real warranted reason. It has the potential to be catastrophic to our sport.

“Unless we can get some delegations and work out exemptions to these regulations then I think you’ll see a lot of people walking away from this sport.”

Mr Evans said his organisation has had plenty of correspondence with the EU’s director-general of health.

But he said no official reply has been written yet to concerns.

Mr Evans said: “What we are hoping is that common sense will prevail and maybe the French will see fit and let us in for a couple of weeks towards the end of the season.

“But the long term objective is to get long term changes to the regulations.

“If we don’t get anything by April next year there’ll be a significant amount of people leaving the sport.

“So time is against us.“

The European Union has been contacted by for comment.

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