We are sure that everyone is following the updates in relation to Covid 19 and Avian Influenza restrictions to try and get an indication as to when pigeon racing may commence. The devolved Governments provided an update last week and now that the Prime Minister has provided his initial road map out of lockdown we thought it we be the right time to provide an update in relation to the commencement of Racing and Training. While the plan out of lockdown is / will be different within England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland we have taken the following content from the PM’s announcement as a positive step towards the commencement of racing in England. We will monitor the additional information that comes from the devolved Governments and provide updates as and when necessary. From 29 March – (at the earliest) Stay at home guidance be dropped. Significant loosening of how far people can travel but people will be encouraged to minimise travel. Outdoor organised sports will return. Six people or two families can meet outside. From 12th April (at the earliest) One household will be allowed to stay overnight somewhere in the UK. (Indicating wider travel will be permitted) Taking the above into consideration and subject to confirmation by the Prime Minister at the appropriate milestones we envisage that; 1. At the earliest, training would be permitted from 29th March 2021. 2. At the earliest, Racing will commence from 12th April 2021 with race marking etc taking place outside. In preparation for the commencement of racing under these restrictions we will develop and issue guidance similar to that used in 2020. However, In addition to the Covid-19 restrictions we also have to consider the current restrictions in place due to Avian Influenza. The Code of Practice for Pigeon Racing published on the RPRA website will provide a detailed overview https://www.rpra.org/avian-influenza-code-practice-pigeon-racing/.
A summary of the code is as follows: From December 14th, 2020, when a housing requirement in the AIPZ comes into force in Great Britain, birds will only be allowed out for exercise for up to one hour once each day. You may train birds as a single loft but must not mix birds from other lofts. You must not have an open loft that allows the birds to freely come and go, which would increase the chance of wild birds entering your loft and contaminating it. Part 2 BIRD GATHERINGS – GENERAL LICENCE Please note the General License for bird gatherings was revoked on 11 November 2020. This means that all racing, shows, training, sales, or auctions where birds are physically brought together from multiple lofts are banned until the General License is reinstated. This means that fanciers should not enter another’s loft or premises, footwear/clothing should be clean and not worn at your own loft, and hands washed/hand sanitiser gel used. Questions and answers
Q – Can I train my birds ? A. – No. While the current Avian Influenza code of practice permits single loft training (multiple loft/group training is not allowed as this would be classed as a gathering) the Covid 19 restrictions relating to travel mean that training is currently NOT permitted.
Q – When will I be able to train? A – Subject to confirmation nearer the date, you will be able to train at the earliest from 29th March 2021.
Q – Why can’t I train before 29th March 2021? A – The Government’s stay at home policy will remain in force until at least 29th March 2021.
Q – When will the General license for bird Gatherings be re-instated ? A – There is no real indication towards a date. The CEO is regularly attending the Stakeholder meetings arranged by the APHA and will provide an update as soon as there are any developments.
Q – Will the RPRA be producing guidance for Race Marking, Convoyers, Clock setting etc? A – Yes. This will be developed and issued as soon as possible.
Q – My organisation’s race programme commences prior to the 12th April. What should we do ? A – We will make contact with each convoying organisation to establish a revised race programme.
Q – Is the commencement of racing from 12th April 2021 subject to the General license being reinstated ? A – Yes – without this racing cannot commence.
Ian Evans CEO