New EU Animal Health Regulation: 2020/ 688

From October, the FCI Board paid more attention to Europe because a new EU Animal Health Regulation has been issue.

In this regulation, racing pigeons are specifically mentioned in chapter 68. This chapter in turn refers to chapter 59 for specific regulations. Chapter 59.1.a  mentions that a mandatory quarantine period of 21 days before racing pigeons are allowed to cross EU member state borders.

This regulation basically puts the pigeon sport at a disadvantage because some of the provisions of the legislation cannot be complied with due to animal health and sport professional reasons.

Definition of the problem: The critical point for European Commission Regulation 2020/688 on racing pigeon competitions is the mandatory 21-day quarantine provided for in Article 59 of Section V of the Regulation.

The 21-day staying in one place set out in the decree, in addition to excluding traditional pigeons from racing pigeons cannot be maintained from animal protection or animal welfare point of view. The reason is that it restricts competing animals in their most important movement, flying, when quarantined in flocks. The transport of the racing pigeons to the starting place must take place in the shortest possible time interval, satisfying the criteria for obligatory rest period, feeding and watering.

Paragraph 68 regulates carriage to sporting events, with reference to the provisions of Article 59, of which the requirements of paragraph 1 (a) to (b) to (c) to (f) are complied with in all cases.

The pigeon sport has very strict rules on the international level. They are enclosed in the statutes and the regulations of both National Federations and the FCI. The member federations have clear rules for transportation, vaccination, and veterinarian management, which always comply with the EU and the world’s regulation.

The Member States of the European Union have the right to table amendments before these laws come into force.

Several FCI associations, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture of their respective countries have signaled the need to amend the law to the EU Committee Agriculture in case of derogation of 21-day quarantine.

The President of FCI, Mr. Istvan Bardos appealed all leaders of FCI member federations in the EU Member States to visit their countries’s MEPs, in particular the members of the Committee on Agriculture, and to ask MEPs to initiate and support an amendment to Commission Regulation 2020/688 on the competition for carrier pigeons that the 59. article should be removed.

He asked each President of the national federations to take necessary steps to change this regulation for the safety of pigeon sport.

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