Bird-brained new Brexit rule threatens pigeon racing across English Channel

UK correspondent Gavin Grey gives a roundup of stories making headlines in the UK and Europe.

- New post-Brexit animal health regulations could put paid to the time-honoured tradition of pigeon racing across the English Channel

- UK correspondent Gavin Grey gives an update on Weekend Breakfast with Sara-Jayne King

@ pakosta/123rf.com

New post-Brexit animal health regulations could put paid to the time-honoured tradition of pigeon racing across the English Channel.

The rules, to be introduced in October, mean UK birds will have to have an export health certificate before they can take part in Channel races from France.

"These birds are low-risk and are not being imported, only transported then released" said Labour MP John Healey.

Flock of racing pigeons @ khunaspix/123rf.com

CapeTalk's Sara-Jayne King gets the lowdown from UK correspondent Gavin Grey.

I think most people were more worried about a hit to the economy than about pigeons, but I do love the story as a way of showing how Brexit has thrown up some rather unusual difficulties...

Gavin Grey, UK correspondent

For the uninitiated, pigeon racing is very popular here, particularly in the north of England... where you effectively take your bird to a distant place, release them at a set time and then see who comes back first.

Gavin Grey, UK correspondent

They used to release them in France and let them fly back across. However, because these are termed to be 'kept animals' as it were, they need a signed export health certificate... I mean, isn't this hilarious! They're just flying, but they need an export health certificate because effectively that is where they are being dropped off

Gavin Grey, UK correspondent

Many of the birds individually are worth tens of thousands of pounds, says Grey.

And many "pigeon fanciers" are saying the new rules will cost them too much time, effort and money to make Channel racing worth it in the end.

Scroll to the top of the article for the audio of Grey's UK update

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