- Title: Prized Belgian racing pigeons locked up as guns come out for cull
- Date: 30th December 2016
- Summary: HERRINES, BELGIUM (DECEMBER 23, 2016) (REUTERS) RACING PIGEON PIGEON FANCIER, ANTOINE VAN BOCKSTAEL, SHOWING OFF ONE OF HIS RACING PIGEONS RACING PIGEON WITH WING UNFURLED RACING PIGEON INSIDE DOVECOTE VARIOUS OF PIGEONS INSIDE DOVECOTE (SOUNDBITE) (French) PIGEON FANCIER, ANTOINE VAN BOCKSTAEL, SAYING: "The RFCB (Royal Belgian Pigeon-Fanciers Federation) is asking us to lock up our pigeons for a while because there is an excess of wild pigeons." HUNTING RIFLE VARIOUS OF TWO PIGEON HUNTERS WILD PIGEONS ON BARN ROOF HUNTER SHOOTING AT PIGEON (SOUNDBITE) (French) FARMER, WILLY DEVILLE, SAYING: "In corn silos, there are corn grains. And hundreds of pigeons come and eat the grains, especially during the winter. It's an easy food for them because they don't have to look for food in the wild." VARIOUS OF COWS (SOUNDBITE) (French) FARMER, WILLY DEVILLE, SAYING: "Food can become contaminated either with salmonella or with faecal coliforms. And this can be damaging for the feeding of livestock." HALLE, BELGIUM (DECEMBER 21, 2016) (REUTERS) PLATE DECORATED WITH IMAGE OF PIGEONS PRESIDENT OF THE BELGIAN ASSOCIATION OF PIGEON RACING, STEFAAN VAN BOCKSTAELE (SOUNDBITE) (French) PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL BELGIAN PIGEON-FANCIERS FEDERATION, STEFAAN VAN BOCKSTAELE, SAYING: "Wild pigeons have diseases and when our pigeons are in the same meadow, they can catch their germs. Then, when they are coming back to the dovecote, there is a serious risk of contamination of all pigeons." VARIOUS OF PIGEON MODEL ON VAN BOCKSTAELE'S DESK HERRINES, BELGIUM (DECEMBER 23, 2016) (REUTERS) RACING PIGEON DOVECOTE DOOR CLOSING
- Embargoed: 14th January 2017 10:29
- Keywords: Pigeons racing competition hunting
- Location: HERRINES AND HALLE, BELGIUM
- City: HERRINES AND HALLE, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Human Interest/Brights/Odd News,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0015F2RJAB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Belgian pigeon fanciers have been forced to lock up their prize birds to protect them from gunfire as the authorities lift a ban on pigeon hunting for several weeks to help cut numbers.
With an excess of pigeons in the north of the country, hunting is permitted from December 17 to January 9 to allow the cull.
Pigeon fancier Antoine Van Bockstael, who breeds pigeons and takes part in speed competitions, said he would not let his pigeons out, following advice given by the Royal Belgian Pigeon-Fanciers Federation (RFCB).
Well protected in the dovecote at the end of his garden, his best racer, Tils, may look like any ordinary pigeon but he is actually a real athlete, participating in both national and world championships.
In northern Belgium pigeon hunting is forbidden. But during the winter, regional authorities gave hunters the green light for three weeks in order to reduce the presence of wild pigeons.
For some pigeon-hunting is a hobby but others do it to help farmers fight the wild birds stealing from corn silos.
"Food can become contaminated either with salmonella or with faecal coliforms. And this can be damaging for the feeding of livestock," said Willy Deville, a farmer.
The hunting season is also good news for pigeon-fanciers as wild pigeons can carry diseases and contaminate an entire dovecote.
"Wild pigeons have diseases and when our pigeons are in the same meadow, they can catch their germs. Then, when they are coming back to the dovecote, there is a serious risk of contamination of all pigeons," said the RFCB President, Stefaan Van Bockstaele.
Once the confinement period is over, some 30,000 Belgian pigeon-fanciers will meet at the end of January in Brussels along with their racing pigeons to take part in the Olympiad 2017, an event during which Prince Laurent will award a prize to the Belgian Champion.
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