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Avian Influenza – Code of Practice for Pigeon Racing

In preparation for the start of inland racing on Saturday 1st May, we have uploaded an updated version of the Avian Influenza – Code of Practice for Pigeon Racing.

Before carrying out any multi-loft training or racing, individuals and organisations must read and adhere to the requirements of this updated code. Failure to do so will jeopardise such activities.


15/04/21: In anticipation and preparation that racing will commence in the very near future, we wish to take this opportunity to remind club secretaries of the requirements to inform the APHA of the location and details of gatherings (race marking) at least seven days in advance. Given that the race season would have normally started by now, this action should have been completed. However, we feel it is appropriate to remind organisations.

An updated version of the Avian Influenza – Code of Practice for Pigeon Racing has been uploaded, to take into account recent developments. Please refer to this for more detail. Failure to adhere to the requirement to inform the APHA will be breaking the General Licence rules. We encourage all members to read the code of practice and ensure compliance.

Please note that if you have already submitted the information to the APHA, when it was assumed racing would have commenced in April, there is no need to do so again.

The meeting with Defra scheduled for the week commencing 19th April will take place on the 21st April.

Question – How can we submit this information when we don’t know when the race season will start?

Answer – Please refer to point 5 of the Gatherings section of the code.



Following the latest outbreaks of Avian Influenza and the requirement to keep all captive birds indoors from 14th December 2020, the RPRA CEO has met with DEFRA today (10th December 2020) to discuss the impact on racing pigeons.

The ‘Avian Influenza – Code of Practice for Racing Pigeons’ that was first published in February 2018 following discussions between the RPRA and DEFRA (see below) has been discussed and updated to reflect the current position. Amendments to the original document have been highlighted in yellow. This document should be read in its entirety and strictly followed/implemented.

Once the current position has improved the Code of Practice will be updated.

Please note that the withdrawal of the General License for Gatherings is a temporary measure until the position improves and restrictions are lifted.

Ian Evans


12.02.18: You will be aware that over recent years the presence of Avian Influenza within domestic birds has resulted in the movement of certain birds being restricted. This could potentially have a devastating impact on pigeon racing and showing. However, to date Defra’s risk based approach in relation to pigeons has resulted in a limited impact on pigeon racing and showing.

To maintain and strengthen this position a Code of Practice has been developed and agreed with Defra. Please note that full compliance with the requirements of the General Licence for Bird Gatherings, i.e. racing marking, liberations, shows and multiple loft training, is a legal requirement. The code should supply all the information relevant to comply with the General Licence requirements.

Within the code you will notice:
• that the RPRA are required to inform the APHA of all gatherings (for affiliated organisations) in relation to race marking and racing. To assist with this task, an email/letter has been sent to every Federation, Combine and National organisation requesting the information contained within Appendix 1;
• a sample contingency plan. This should be visible at each gathering.

Non-compliance with the code and the requirements of the General Licence will have a detrimental impact on the positive outcome of Defra’s risk based approach to pigeon racing and showing – something we all want to avoid.



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