Insane new Brexit rule threatens pigeon racing across the English Channel

Paula Luckhoff

| UK correspondent Gavin Gray provides insight into stories making headlines in the UK and Europe.

– The new post-Brexit health regulations could put an end to the ancestral tradition of pigeon racing across the Channel

UK correspondent Gavin Gray gives update on weekend breakfast with Sara-Jayne King

New post-Brexit animal health regulations could end the centuries-old tradition of pigeon racing across the English Channel.

The rules, which will be introduced in October, mean that British birds will need to have an export health certificate before they can compete in Channel races from France.

“These birds are low risk and are not imported, only transported and then released,” said Labor MP John Healey.

Flock of carrier pigeons @ khunaspix/

Sara-Jayne King of CapeTalk receives the information from British correspondent Gavin Gray.

I think most people were more worried about a hit to the economy than pigeons, but I like the story as a way to show how Brexit created some rather unusual hardship…

Gavin Gray, UK Correspondent

For the uninitiated, pigeon racing is very popular here, especially in the north of England… where you effectively take your bird to a remote location, release it at a set time and then see who comes back first.

Gavin Gray, UK Correspondent

They used to release them in France and let them fly through. However, since these animals qualify as “kept animals”, they require a signed export health certificate…I mean, isn’t that hilarious! They only fly, but they need an export health certificate, because that’s effectively where they are deposited

Gavin Gray, UK Correspondent

Many birds are individually worth tens of thousands of pounds, says Gray.

And many “pigeon fanciers” say the new rules will cost them too much time, effort and money to make Channel races worthwhile.

Scroll to top of article for Grey’s UK update audio

This article first appeared on CapeTalk: Insane new Brexit rule threatens pigeon racing across the English Channel