Show attracting 15,000 pigeon fanciers will go ahead without any birds

Show attracting 15,000 pigeon fanciers will go ahead without any birds

January 13, 2023

British Homing World Show which attracts 15,000 pigeon fanciers a year will go ahead – but without any birds amid avian flu fears

  • Annual show in Blackpool will go ahead for its 51st year on January 21 and 22 
  • Pigeons not allowed in venue due to it being inside Avian Flu Surveillance Zone 
  • Show classes axed but the trade show, auctions and social events going ahead

One of the UK’s biggest events, the British Homing World Show, which attracts over 15,000 pigeon fanciers a year will go ahead – but without any birds amid avian flu fears.

The annual show in Blackpool, Lancashire, will go ahead for its 51st year on January 21 and 22.

In previous years, the event would display around 1,000 show pigeons and 2,000 racing pigeons.

But this year, pigeons will not be allowed in the venue due to it being inside a 10k Avian Flu Surveillance Zone.

The annual show in Blackpool, Lancashire, will go ahead for its 51st year on January 21 and 22 (pictured: row of pigeons at the show in 2020)

In previous years, the event would display around 1,000 show pigeons and 2,000 racing pigeons (pictured: a man inspecting a pigeon at the 2020 show)

It comes after 3.2 million poultry were culled last year during Europe’s biggest ever outbreak of bird flu.

This means that show classes for the 1,600 pigeons have been axed but the trade show, pigeon auctions and social events are going ahead as planned.

Chris Sutton, the chief executive of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association said that it’s ‘very disappointing’ the show can’t go ahead as normal.

He said: ‘The Winter Gardens is 250m inside the surveillance zone so we tried to find an alternative location for the show racer competition but the cost was prohibitive as we run as a charity.

‘There were 1,600 pigeons which were going to be showed but that won’t be going ahead and people have prepared their pigeons for these shows.

‘It is very disappointing because a lot of work has gone into organising the show, but we felt it was important to go ahead with the other elements.

But this year, pigeons will not be allowed in the venue due to it being inside a 10k Avian Flu Surveillance Zone (pictured: rows of pigeons at 2020’s show)

It comes after 3.2 million poultry were culled last year during Europe’s biggest ever outbreak of bird flu (pictured: a pigeon at the 2020 show)

This means that show classes for the 1,600 pigeons have been axed but the trade show, pigeon auctions and social events are going ahead as planned (pictured: show in 2020)

Chris Sutton, the chief executive of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association said that it’s ‘very disappointing’ the show can’t go ahead as normal (pictured: man holding his show racer pigeon, the largest of its kind, at the 2020 show)

Mr Sutton said: ‘The Winter Gardens is 250m inside the surveillance zone so we tried to find an alternative location for the show racer competition but the cost was prohibitive as we run as a charity’

He added: ‘There were 1,600 pigeons which were going to be showed but that won’t be going ahead and people have prepared their pigeons for these shows’

Mr Sutton said: ‘It is very disappointing because a lot of work has gone into organising the show, but we felt it was important to go ahead with the other elements’ (pictured: men looking at the pigeons for sale at the 2020 event)

Mr Sutton said: ‘The pigeon fanciers are still attending because there is the social side of it as well. ‘There is still lots to do and it will be a successful show’

 He said: ‘All kudos to the council and the Winter Gardens who have done as much as they can to help us’

‘The pigeon fanciers are still attending because there is the social side of it as well.

‘There is still lots to do and it will be a successful show.

‘All kudos to the council and the Winter Gardens who have done as much as they can to help us.’

Mr Sutton added: ‘Bird flu is going to continue to be a challenge until a vaccination can be found, so we have to show the way in continuing to hold the show despite the difficult circumstances.’

Fanciers will be able to view pigeons for sale at another venue in the seaside town and will have to bid on a live-streamed auction.

They will not be able to take them back to their hotels and will have to pick up the birds when they leave Blackpool.

A Blackpool Council spokesperson said: ‘This is an important event in Blackpool’s calendar and we are delighted that despite the challenges the bulk of it is going ahead.’

The show attracts thousands of pigeon fanciers (pictured: a potential buyer inspecting a pigeon’s wings and feathers at the 2020 event)

Mr Sutton added: ‘Bird flu is going to continue to be a challenge until a vaccination can be found, so we have to show the way in continuing to hold the show despite the difficult circumstances’ (pictured: man holding his 200 mile category winning racing pigeon at the event in 2020)

 Fanciers will be able to view pigeons for sale at another venue in the seaside town and will have to bid on a live-streamed auction

 They will not be able to take them back to their hotels and will have to pick up the birds when they leave Blackpool

A Blackpool Council spokesperson said: ‘This is an important event in Blackpool’s calendar and we are delighted that despite the challenges the bulk of it is going ahead’

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