Post-Brexit pigeon racing faces new limitations

Pigeon - RawPixel

New EU rules post-Brexit restrict UK pigeon racers from flying their birds in France and other European countries.

Racers who wish to compete must now have a signed export health certificate for their pigeons otherwise they will not be able to participate in trans-Channel races, as reported by bbc.co.uk. The certificate must be approved and signed by a qualified vet and examinations on the birds will have to be carried out before they can be transported and raced.

Alan Todd from Gateshead in the North East of England has said the cost is not feasible for the “normal working man”. For the 62,000 pigeon enthusiasts (known as fanciers) in the UK who keep and race pigeons, these new regulations will have a massive impact on where and how often they can compete.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has said it will “continue to work to support the racing pigeon community as they adapt to these changes”.

The Royal Pigeon Racing Association tweeted that as of 23rd June 2022, there have been 1246 applications for a Country Parish Holding number so that those who participate in the sport can participate in cross channel races.

Todd has expressed confusion at the changes in required documentation as he’s “flown in France as long as [he] can remember”. He describes the post-Brexit pigeon racing rules as a “massive threat” to the pigeon racing community and the sport itself.

Pigeon owner Rob Shields has also described the post-Brexit situation as “really sad”. In a statement he said “we went through a lot with Covid, the pandemic, and coming to these pigeons is mentally stabilising people. We just love our pigeons.”


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Image - Annie Dabb
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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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