Archive for February 2015

Closed pigeon chat rooms in the modern era.   Leave a comment

Freedom of Speech.

Closed racing pigeon chat rooms are certainly a big asset to the sport. I actually run one, on Facebook, its ‘Pigeon racers Chat Room, Auckland, rest of NZ and further’. If you are a racing pigeon enthusiast please feel free to request membership. The more members the merrier and remember it is closed. If you have trouble finding it then message me on Facebook, Fergus James Elley.
So, what are the advantages of closed pigeon chat rooms for world pigeon bodies? Naturally, it is a great way of interacting with new people around the world with the possibility of forging new friendships, some of which may turn into life long ones.
Secondly, it provides a bulletin type service when fanciers are in need of assistance with obtaining clocks, new birds, race information and results etc.
Also, the sharing of pigeon articles by members is a great way of adding to your knowledge pool. Facebook’s design is set up so that it is very easy to share links to all sorts of things pertaining to pigeon racing on the internet.
Although I am unable to work and some might think this means I have all the time in the world to locate and digest copious quantities of pigeon information on the net, this in reality is not true. A healthy retiree would have ten times the amount of time to undertake such activities if they would choose to do so!
Another big advantage I see is that when there are contentious subjects to discuss, then such a closed group allows fanciers to do so in a safe and private way. For instance, if some in a said group think that some things could have been done better at times, then due to its closed nature this is an excellent forum for such discussions.
If you like, it is very similar to a closed meeting situation of which, when I was on meds to stabilise the pain and inflammation of my CFS, I would attend at times both at a club and Federation level. Of course the forum of meetings can be one of conjecture and even rowdiness; we only have to turn on the TV and watch our MPs to observe that this is a true statement!
So too, chat rooms may at times get heated. But let us remember that iron sharpens iron and conflict in discussions doesn’t mean that there isn’t something to be learnt or is not valuable to the improvement of the sport. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. In saying this, there is no place for rudeness.
Several years ago, when in better shape and on more meds, I was put in the chair to be acting president by the then Federation President Howard Luff when he resigned. Had I become President I would have welcomed groups like the one which I run on Facebook. However, I didn’t take on the position for health reasons and the greater legal obligations that come with running an Incorporated Society.
Indeed, closed chat rooms are an excellent forum for fanciers to give feedback to their governing body on the many aspects of running a pigeon organisation including races and their outcomes.
Free speech is certainly to be encouraged and within closed groups it can’t really go wrong as there are rules to follow; members can edit their comments, perhaps even apologise or even remove them if need be and so on. Complaints can be made directly to Facebook or the moderator can be written to with a clear intelligent argument from an individual or group of fanciers why they think something might need changing.
Certainly gagging efforts should be frowned upon as they simply curb free speech and may even give those instigating the gagging the appearance of being undemocratic.
Since the inception of the internet, the rate at which public opinions and political movements have formed, have increasingly accelerated and thus public consensus has been achieved and communicated at a much faster pace. Modern political parties have harnessed the political power of the internet for some time now and even pigeon bodies should use it for good and to their advantage without subjecting members to repressive actions.
Most people use the internet and anyone over 13 years of age can join Facebook. So for example, in the case of my closed Facebook pigeon chat room, it is open to every pigeon fancier to join and so have the right of reply and opportunity to participate. If they don’t have a pc or smart phone then they can always visit the library!
However, I would advise not to single out specific people in comments, especially those not in the chat room as it’s unfair and they might get upset. Remember, to only write that which you are happy to have others read and would not like to be said about you. After all, we are only human! Also technology does not absolve one of responsibility.
However, if we are to keep seeing positive changes in pigeon racing around the world then the important issues still need to be discussed. Some of us can’t attend meetings for different reasons and thus a closed group forum is an alternative avenue to discuss ‘the good oil’. Do you agree?
There really are no detrimental effects of discussing pigeon welfare in closed pigeon groups. To me it shows external agencies (we have the SPCA here in nz) that the sport around the world can still be internally regulated since freedom of speech and of expression in the forms of ‘fair comment’ is paramount for the sport’s survival. I personally saw the benefits of this in the Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation from the South Island old bird races in 2012 and 2013. Simply put, ‘they were two glorious, golden years” since rigorous discussion was permitted on this blog around three years ago and even more rigid release protocols instigated and we can really praise those involved in those series of distance races from the South Island in 2012 and 2013, well done!!
In addition, the danger to the sport of the banning or curbing of certain aspects of pigeon racing anywhere in the world are more likely to come from the circle of friends of fanciers who have been within the sport for a long time and know the sport backwards, upside down and inside out. Harassment of such fanciers, especially if they have major health issues may result in their friends deeming them disenfranchised and might just be the straw which broke the camel’s back for those fanciers’ friends who may then instigate whistle blowing to animal welfare agencies and even Human Rights agencies. I would imagine that most people running pigeon organisations around the world would not welcome such actions and really it should not be necessary in a democratic, civilised arena.
The South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race isn’t an event which pleases everyone, even within pigeon racing itself. But one thing I would commend them for is that they run an OPEN Facebook Page which any Facebook member can comment on and critical comments (which might be taken by some as derogatory) from my studying of the SAMDPR page, are left for public scrutiny and surveillance i.e. there is no gagging and free speech is not frowned upon!
One might surmise that South Africa has come a long way given the apartheid history and who knows, perhaps South Africa will lead the way in the future with pigeon rights. Indeed, with the opposition to the SAMDPR from groups like PETA, they may well have to. It is very interesting to see that both Vets and animal welfare groups are welcomed and included in the proper running of the SAMDPR series. It seems the SAMDPR is a long way ahead of many parts of the world in how they present themselves openly to the world, even if it can be a gruelling final race. In general, the checks and balances are there, and we in other parts of the world can certainly learn from them.
The ARPF has an OPEN facebook page titled ‘the Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation’. At the moment, I can’t see the type of open forum discussions, like some of those on the SAMDPR facebook page, happening on the Auckland page for many reasons. Nevertheless, in the mean time, a safer option is for discussions to be in the closed Facebook chat room arena such as the one run by me. Apart from that, there is the opportunity for discussions to be held at meetings. But wouldn’t this be time consuming and would all members be able to attend? Surely we should take advantage of the modern technology that is available and embrace the good things which it has to offer pigeon clubs, Federations and fanciers in general worldwide.
What’s your opinion?

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Posted February 26, 2015 by ferguselley in Food for thought

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What really matters?   Leave a comment

Chronic fatigu July 2014

Well firstly all the best for 2015, albeit belatedly!

I emailed the following to a club mate recently who had asked after me by email which was nice, “the last 6 weeks has been a torrid time physically, its called a crucifixion experience and good for my faith walk”.

This is exactly how it is, not even the health to blog. Blogging for me is good for the space between the ears and it makes one feel good about ones self and it is one of the few ways that I can give back to the fancy with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

In reply to the not too long ago blog ‘the mighty pigeon’ a guy called Mike Link who follows my blog wrote the following and I really liked it!

“Fergus, happy Xmas and hope you have a great new year. Those that don’t like your writings don’t have to read them, don’t worry about those that don’t like them there are plenty that do.

Interesting thoughts. Well I agree that the pigeon is wonderful for many, it’s also not for some. I spoke with a bloke of about 30 years Old years ago and for him the pigeon was bad. For him it meant no family holidays growing up or football on a Saturday. After hearing his views, luckily my children were still young, I vowed not to put the pigeons first and since then I have managed to keep a good balance. On the flip side of what you are saying and yes I support what you are saying we must also be aware of the terrible side of pigeon racing, the jealously that some how drives some to burn down a competitors loft, poison thier birds or steal them. Pigeon racing has a dark side too. Pigeon racing also for some reason Seems to attract alot of con men. Leaving all that aside for us genuine fanciers it is truly wonderful. The really truly dear friends that I have collected through pigeons are just brilliant. More so than any other sport I am involved in. One of my best friends in pigeons always says to me that he and I would still keep pigeons if we could not race them. And that is true. There are some that see the pigeon as a tool and these are not the true fanciers, these are the ones that when they decide not to race anymore pack up, and normally have a sale. The true fanciers will never be without pigeons even if they cant race. I love my pigeons so much that I don’t want to race them but to not race them would be cruel. To deny them of thier purpose of what they exist to do would be a travesty and crime against the species. One thing that peta (the animal butchers) will never understand, take away an animals purpose and you make it extinct.

Write on my friend.

Mike Link”

I would agree and how many of us pigeon fanciers have put the pigeons before our families at times? Family and friends, they really do matter!

I do find the blogging and running of a Facebook closed pigeon chat group of equal if not more importance than racing and if any of you fanciers out there would like to join it please request membership at ”Pigeon racers Chat Room, Auckland, rest of NZ and further’ on Facebook. The more members the merrier and remember it is closed. If you have trouble finding it then message me on Facebook, Fergus James Elley.

For health reasons I can not be involved with club and Federation admin and even meetings. It is an effort to just get to Federation races which my wife drives me into. For plenty of the 60 or so fanciers in Auckland ‘the penny has not yet dropped on that one’, but the likes of Mac Armstrong, they are onto it, a very difficult illness for most people to understand my CFS!

Friends like Mac Armstrong, Fred and Bronnie van Lier and many others are what keeps the sport enjoyable, even when there are bad races. These are the sorts of people who are less likely to change their take on what constitutes a good liberation decision or not regardless of which people are involved with organising the race.

Yes madmikelink, that’s the wordpress name he goes under, the pigeon is bred to fly and be free, the dilemma that faces pigeon racing around the world is though, what constitutes a fair liberation, it often polarises pigeon bodies and those that organise races need to ‘harden up’ and be thicker skinned when a bit of fair criticism comes their way, after all, we are talking about the lives of pigeons here and they all have the right to a fair go! To me, the right of free speech in pigeon racing, really matters!

It was interesting to look on Facebook at the ‘South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race’ last month. Type in the above while on Facebook and you will get there. This is a controversial race indeed. Unfortunately the returns were sparse this year with just 16 day pigeons from around 2500 with about 200 more the next day. I thought about commenting but restrained myself however it would be very interesting to learn of an exact head count after say 2 weeks i.e. of those returning or being reported by the public. I guess that the SAMDPR don’t need a return like this given the recent threats of the banning of pigeon racing in South Africa. Although poor returns in pigeon racing are always going to be the subject of speculation until racing pigeons can individually be tracked during racing and located if lost or hitting a wire, predated etc there are two main factors given by Facebook members on the site, the heat and the insufficient distance of the build up hot spot races i.e. match fitness development for the over 300 mile event. They race this in Summer to suit the northern hemisphere entries I believe, but perhaps this needs to stop, I don’t know. The organisers of the SAMDPR also give the reason of rain showers affecting the main bunch on their Facebook site.

Check out their website at http://info.scmdpr.com/index/home.php If any of you had the time to write some articles on the history of the race since its inception for this blog I’m sure readers would be interested please email me at ferguselley@gmail.com

Come to think of it, if you are like me with the SAMDPR its not which pigeon won and what country and fancier its from but how many pigeons made it home? To me, that’s what really matters!

Well seeing that my pet subject of ‘what really matters’ is pigeon welfare, then have a read of the following, some will see it as waffle, others with a real heart for the pigeons as ‘really choice’.

Thanks too for the freedoms and liberties our ancestors have fought for, freedom of speech, freedom of expression and so on. From William Wilberforce who succeeded in abolishing slavery to Martin Luther King who was martyred for the Black American cause, Emmeline Pankhurst who fought for British woman’s right to vote and now in more recent times the civil rights movements for LGBT peoples that has swept most of the modern world like a giant Tsunami.

In a recent article ‘the mighty pigeon’ quite obviously I touched on animal rights and in this case pigeon’s rights and where would we be as a ‘fancy’ without the pigeon. I believe that the animal rights movement is the next big movement of the world, of course it is already here and happening! We need to be prepared for it and not be lackadaisical about standards for the transportation and liberation of our pigeons. Otherwise it will come back to bite us in our ‘merry behinds’!

Of course there is always opposition to change and I like the following wise quotes.

“Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”
― Albert Einstein
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”

[Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950]”
― Harry S. Truman
“You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle.”
― Shannon L. Alder
“You see, the point is that the strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.”
― Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People
“A kite flies against the wind, not with it.”
― Winston S. Churchill
“There is an easy way to silence your critics; just try to do what they say you can’t do. If they are still not content, do more of it! Keep doing it until you become a master. Then look around, and you will see fewer critics and many compliments!”
― Israelmore Ayivor
“I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Jesus himself spoke about the material one builds a house (their life) with, remember, the man who used a foundation of sand to build his house on, that house was simply swept away, whereas the man who built his house on the rock (read Jesus or God Almighty), his house stood through the storm.
In the same way we as pigeon organisations must build our organisations on solid rock (ground) because the storms of animal activism will come and lay waste and cause havoc amongst those organisations which do not. Simple stuff and really simple to design transportation and liberation strategies that will withstand the storms and floods that are indeed coming, even as I type right now!

Hopefully the likes of madmikelink and others will be thinking, ‘write on friend’. Viva the pigeon revolution!

Posted February 17, 2015 by ferguselley in Food for thought

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