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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Show on as bird flu ban lifted

CUMBRIAN pigeon fanciers are flying high again after receiving permission to hold a major show in Egremont next month.

The RPRA Cumbria Region planned to celebrate 100 years by staging the show on December 3 but it was in doubt because of Defra regulations.

No racing pigeon shows have been held in the county since the threat from bird flu was up-graded and rules were tightened up.

But now Defra has announced that pigeon shows have been downgraded from “high to low risk” and shows can be held provided certain precautions are taken.

The Cumbria region secretary Les Blacklock said: “This is great news for the county pigeon racing fraternity.

“We always said that we should be classed as low risk and now Defra has made that official.

“We have to apply for a licence and at the moment I don’t know how much that will cost or how long it will take to approve.

“But we are working on the assumption that we can get it all tied up in time to hold the centenary show.”

Among the precautions the organisers will have to take are:

o a qualified vet in attendance

o no birds offered for sale

o disinfectant placed on mats at the entrance and exits

o litter from the pens to be collected afterwards in sealed bags

o records kept of all fanciers and pigeons taking part in the show.

Blacklock added: “I think it’s given us all a boost because it was looking as though we would have to cancel.

“We have a Derwent Valley Federation fund-raising show the following weekend on December 11 but I will be waiting to see how long this one takes to set up before we look at that one.

“Provided there are no outbreaks of bird flu in Britain I am hopeful that we will be able to start our racing programme as normal in April.”

The Cumbria region centenary show will attract entries from as far afield as Barrow and Carlisle, as well as the West Cumberland and the Derwent Valley federations.

There are six classes for show racers - young cock, young hen, yearling cock, yearling hen, old cock, and old hen.

The six racing classes are - young cock flown 75 miles, young hen flown 75 miles, old cock flown 150 miles, old hen flown 150 miles, old cock flown 375 miles, and old hen flown 375 miles.

There are also two judging classes through the wires for any age cock and any age hen. There will also be an eye-sign class for both racing cocks and hens.

A prize of £100 will go to the best in show with £50 to the best racer and also to the best show bird. Prizes of £25 have been allocated to best opposite sex and best young bird.

o Flimby West Coast Flying Club will be the first local pigeon organisation to stage a series of winter shows in the wake of the bird flu alarms.

Flimby WCFC will hold six shows, starting on Sunday in the Princess Royal with a class for young cocks. Penning starts at 1pm and judging will take place an hour later. Entry has been set at 25p a bird.

They plan similar shows on: December 4, young hens; December 18, young cock or hen; December 26, old cock; January 2, old hen; January 8, old cock or hen.

Club spokesman John Ellwood said: “We have to apply for a licence week by week, rather than get a block booking, but there’s no problem with that.”

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