The mighty pigeon!   2 comments

Dad. Very clever extremely articulate, very funny man, four degrees, not a dummy. Would tell me about all the different situations he had to sort out in Presbyterian Churches around the countryside in nz.  A good man but a sinner like we all are in need of saving and the precious, abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Rest in peace until the last trumpet sounds!

Dad, very clever, extremely articulate, funny man, four degrees, not a dummy.
Would tell me about all the different situations he had to sort out in Presbyterian Churches around the countryside in nz. A good man but a sinner like we all are in need of saving and the precious, abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Rest in peace until the last trumpet sounds!

I am from time to time made aware that not all members of the pigeon fraternity enjoy my blogs, especially those blogs and posts that stand up for and command respect for ‘our mighty pigeons’. One of the things that is indeed beautiful and liberating is the freedom from having to be right or control; I am of the opinion that these are very dangerous components of human beings. When they are used in ways which are not warranted and violate the human right of ‘freedom of expression’ and seek to put a ‘lid’ on items of ‘public interest’ then we can find in ourselves some of our ‘inner demons’.
But back to the pigeon, why are our racing pigeons ‘mighty’. It is not because they have all won big races because even in the current champs loft the best performers are few and far between, especially when we hit the middle distance and longer. However, I was wondering tonight, how many marriages has the hobby of keeping pigeons saved, how many little children have retained both parents because Daddy has stuck it out for his children with the help of the pigeons as a relaxing and supportive hobby.
My argument is always ‘without the pigeon, you do not have pigeon racing!’ When races go wrong and leadership feels under the gun and react in a feelings first manner with their decision making then there may be reason for concern. Like any situation, should we only keep as a friend someone who pushes the right buttons and says the right things always, certainly not, that would be controlling to the nth degree!
Henk, a nice Dutchman used to often talk about ‘ego’ when discussing pigeons with me in the Manukau Club many moons ago. In hindsight those were very wise words, for if there is a problem with a race or race(s) and many pigeons are missing, then what should be more important, the ego of the pigeon fancier or the missing pigeons themselves, I hear you all saying, “the later’ and of course, you are very right indeed!
If someone is very passionate about the welfare of the pigeons is that a bad thing? Certainly not and it is here that I disagree with some writers who indicate that ‘you can love pigeons too much’. I actually think that the reverse applies myself i.e. you cannot love these defenceless creatures enough and if the heart is missing for the pigeon, if politics and so on mean more than the pigeons, then a fancier is indeed in trouble I think, don’t you?
What would you think the general public thinks of these ideas; would it be any different from caring for your pet dog or cat, maybe not? It intrigues me when there is some sort of commotion in the ‘pigeon world’ e.g. the banning of racing for now in Johannesburg. Of course this simply turned out to be a false alarm, it is really only about the governments there’s concerns of the feral pigeons (and lost or still coming home racers) being a reservoir for both human and avian diseases and I believe it will fizzle out.
This got many people in a flap though and given how some have felt and reacted to that news to me it begs the question, if ten years went by and pigeon racing is banned in many parts of the world due to animal activists campaigning to curb the sport in all sorts of ways, then if we arrived at that situation e.g. in nz or Australia, what key things should we have done to prevent this happening?
I will point out that nz is very isolated from the rest of the world and a pigeon or pigeon eggs would either have to be smuggled in somehow in order for there to be a disease risk, as simply put, no pigeon alive is capable of flying across the huge expanse of the Tasman Sea from Australia. A pigeon would have to hitch a ride on a boat as importations of pigeons have been banned for decades.
That just leaves the situation with the animal activists. Some might think that I am one and I do not choose that label because if I really was against pigeon racing in nz then there are a lot more things that I could do than merely writing on my blog mainly in the off season and running a small closed Facebook chat group, both of which have varied topics.
My mindset is that if we are open and transparent we have a better chance of not being a target for groups like PETA, the logic being that despite their perhaps fundamental goal of ‘liberating all the birds and animals’, that in general they are very content on working to see improvements in the lot of animals e.g. free range broiler chicken and egg farming as opposed to the stereotyped ‘factory farming’ which I will admit that as I have aged I have realised the radical differences in the two practices.
Should pigeon racing be banned in any country? Are liberations out to sea and even as a typhoon approaches good for the sports image? They are probably not. Of course it is not for me to say, but I think within my own country there are many people working to make the racing pigeons lot in general a very good one and I like that!
If I write on this blog or in the chat group in favour of pigeon welfare then I am really only doing the sport and the ‘pigeon’ (which the sport simply cannot do without) a favour, at least that is what I think. Besides which, the blog is just a little ‘stage’ and of course the chat group on Facebook is closed, so what’s the problem? Am I to be gagged for sticking up for the pigeons? My opinion in this regard is that it could be dangerous for circles of people if they attempt to do that, as how does that make them look with respect to pigeon welfare here in nz?
Fanciers also worry about people who might cause the sport, even here in nz trouble, but I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, maybe I am biased, you can tell me, and I am open to being wrong!
I do know that we need to put a mammoth effort into preserving the sport from the grass roots up. Welfare standards at the home lofts must be excellent and the race liberations under taken in a very careful and considerate way, especially from the long distance, which many people love. If in doubt, hold them over has to be strictly adhered to.
Therefore by attempting to curb intelligent criticism of a pigeon body of any form, whether it be in casual conversations, private emails, meetings, closed chat groups or even on blogs such as mine, is in my mind extremely controlling and just a tad naive, however, I also accept that that is some fanciers views and you are entitled to think that way just as I and many others are entitled to think in a more futuristic, broader way that gives the ordinary racing pigeon much more respect than some give. So I am still convinced that if we are totally honest and transparent with the public and totally open to learn as pigeon bodies how to manage our racing programmes better, then instead of reaping ‘problems’ in the long term with the public, then we will reap a harvest of ‘great things’ with the public and the more that we can get on the radio, tv and in the newspapers for the right reasons the better.
It was a huge shock to the fanciers in the U.K. to be attacked so sensationally by PETA last year and of course I have written three articles on PETA and if I think it would help I will write more, however given that they seem to have settled down I think that it is better to keep any ideas for future articles and videos on the back boiler. I think that they would go after the Australians before nz but I also think that they will have bigger fish to fry, just like they took on Elizabeth the Queen of England and the fancy in the Diamond Jubilee Year, although in essence they want to control and curb the sport, they are very much into sensationalism and of course it is ‘free’ advertising for them when the media do run with it.
Leaving that subject and getting back to the grass roots of the sport in every country, we need to push the exposure of the younger generation to racing pigeons. Every now and then I see something or get sent something on the net about racing pigeons in schools and that is a great thing. In form two at Henderson Intermediate the teacher of the time Ollie Green got me to bring a pair of pigeons to stay at the school in the class in a metre long coop high up below the ceiling and they bred there and we would have them out in the class and there would be the occasional ‘deposit’ on the desks or floor. It was a good, fun thing.
It is easy to get side tracked from the real important jobs that ought to be done as pigeon bodies. Arguing and bickering never achieves anything except for a dry throat and perhaps a headache! Circles of people that run pigeon organisations need to focus on what is important to a pigeon body as a whole and not get lost in the relentless pursuit of ‘ego’ and ‘vanities’. The rights of the little men viz the infirm, the aged, the beginners, those simply just struggling in general and the ‘unconverted’ non fancier public member, these are more important than ‘feelings’ that can run high when people find themselves in difficult situations and revenge would be a lovely past time.
My Father was a preacher to the lost, the unsaved and at times that is my role too. However, in addition I find myself as an ambassador for the ‘mighty’ pigeon and ‘woe betide anyone’ who thinks that racing pigeons at the least are not worth as much and have as many rights as the drug peddlers, pedo’s and other filth in our societies! Do not these scum bags have rights, you bet that they do and so should our pigeons and don’t worry, I’ll keep fighting for them!

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