From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 09 April 2021 12:20
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: UPDATE General Licence for Bird Gatherings

Earlier this morning I was informed that the meeting scheduled for this afternoon had been cancelled. I am sure this will be a great disappointed to you all as it is to me. However, a DEFRA representative has taken the time to speak to me and as a result I am able to provide the following update; Defra has commissioned a risk assessment (currently not completed) that will be used to decide when to reinstate the General license. The option to do this on a staged approach starting with species considered a lower risk (such as Racing Pigeons) is still an option being considered. The General license will not be reinstated prior to 30th April. This means that Racing can not take place before this date and will be permitted at the earliest, from 1st May 2021 The meeting has now been rearranged for some time week commencing 19th April 2021 (time and date to be confirmed). I will keep you updated with any developments. In the meantime multi loft training (more than one loft) also remains banned. Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 09 April 2021 08:52
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: CONTINENTAL RACING - UPDATE

The following is an update in relation to the correspondence between the RPRA and the Directorate General Sante of the EU. The correspondence below will demonstrate that we are no closer to achieving a position that will facilitate channel racing but that we are doing everything we can to achieve this position. We will continue to keep you updated. CEOs reply to DG Sante dated 8th April 2021 Dear Mr Van Goethem, Thank you for the latest reply. Your time and assistance in this matter is very much appreciated. Please would you provide a little more of your time to answer the following questions. I accept that the provisions of article 2016/429 require the movement into the union to be as stringent as the movement between member states. However, the current position is that the requirements of regulation 2020/692 and therefore movement into the union, are far more stringent for Racing Pigeons transported for the purpose of racing. The articles within the regulation make it impossible to move racing pigeons into France and other EU member states. What we are trying to achieve is parity in relation to the requirements associated with the movement of racing pigeons into the union and the movement between member states. i.e. parity between regulations 2020/688 and 2020/692. We are attempting to achieve this aim for the same reasons that the representatives from members states lobbied for amendments to regulation 2020/688 in relation to racing pigeons. Please note we are not asking for any amendments relating to the permanent import of racing pigeons from the UK but for the purpose of racing and therefore the temporary 'import' of pigeons that are released to fly back to the UK - a non-commercial process that has happened for one hundred years without any negative impact on health. These amendments include; 1. Removing the requirement of the 21 day isolation period for pigeons being transported for the purpose of racing 2. Removing the requirement for a Health certificate, endorsed/signed by a veterinarian appointed by the competent authority and replacing this with an owners declaration. Will regulation 2020/692 also be amended to reflect the requirement for racing pigeons contained within regulation 2020/688 and therefore be as stringent as those contained within regulation 688 ? If not could you explain why? What is the rational behind the difference in approach? I am aware that the current discussions in relation to derogation's relate to article 61 and not article 62. However, Article 62 states that derogation's can be achieved in relation to articles 3 to 10, 11 to 19 and 53 to 61; if the third country is specifically listed for the entry into the Union based a equivalent guarantees. This suggest that derogation relating to the health certification and housing requirements prior to movement can be achieved. How are such derogation's achieved ? Is this an application to the commission from the UK Government? Are these derogation's something that member states can apply ? Finally, thank you for confirming how the transition period will work. Given that regulation 2013/139 made racing pigeons exempt from such certification processes when transported for the purpose of racing; I am not aware of any existing certificates for this purpose. Therefore, how can we be expected to comply with the new requirements by using non-existent certificates ? I am assured that the UK competent authority has made an initial written request to the commission in respect of the new AHL but to date they have not received a reply. In the meantime I would be grateful if you could find the time to reply to my questions Thank you Ian DG Sante reply to CEOs email previously published. Dear Mr Evans, As regards your question on the approach of current and future rules, please note that according to the provisions of Regulation (EC) 2016/429 (Animal Health Law - AHL) the rules for entry into the Union should be as stringent as those for the movement between Member States. Therefore, since there are rules for the movement of racing pigeons between Member States, racing pigeons are also included in the scope of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/692 for the entry into the Union. As regards the amendment of Regulation (EU) 2020/692, please note that the discussions in relation to racing pigeons relate to the provisions of Article 61, not Article 62. In that respect, we are considering the possibility for a derogation, under certain conditions, from the obligation that racing pigeons are kept in an approved quarantine establishment for 30 days. It will be, therefore, up to the competent authority of Member States to assess on a case by case if the specific conditions for allowing for such a derogation apply. Finally, as regards your question on a transitional period, please note that AHL and Regulation (EU) 2020/692 will apply as of 21 April 2021. Therefore, as of that date racing pigeons should comply with the rules laid down therein. The transitional period until October 2021 refers to the certificates that should accompany the animals for their entry into the Union. In particular, the draft implementing regulation laying down the certificates for terrestrial animals provides that during that period animal should be accompanied by the certificates applicable before 21 April 2021. I understand that this issue is complex. I would, therefore, urge you to contact the competent authorities of the United Kingdom for any further information needed. B. Van Goethem Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 06 April 2021 12:12
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: AI Housing Measure and exercise of racing pigeons

Now the housing measures component of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been revoked there is no limitation on the time pigeons can be exercised However, you should continue to ensure that contact with wild birds either directly or indirectly is avoided wherever possible (as avian influenza may still be present in the environment). Gatherings of different lofts remain banned. This includes multi loft training, racing, shows etc Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 06 April 2021 09:58
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: Training

REMINDER Multi loft (more than one loft) training remains prohibited until the General license for gatherings is reinstated. Below is the publication from DEFRA Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Revocation of general licence to arrange a fair, market, show, exhibition or other gathering involving the collecting together of poultry or other captive birds in England The general licence issued by the Secretary of State in accordance with regulation 6 of the Avian Influenza (Preventive Measures) (England) Regulations S.I. 2006/2701 (“the Preventive Measures Regulations 2006”) permitting the collection of poultry or captive birds at fairs, markets, shows, exhibitions and other gatherings issued on 27 November 2018 is revoked at 18.30 on Wednesday 11 November 2020. Signed by: Gordon Hickman For and on behalf of the Secretary of State: At 18.30 on 11 November 2020 Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 03 April 2021 16:45
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: Covid-19 Racing Guidance for 2021

Dear Secretary, In preparation for the 2021 season guidance has been developed for clubs and organisations. A list of Guidance for Clubs can be downloaded via the RPRA website. Please visit https://www.rpra.org/download-forms/ You will then be able to access and download the following Guidance 1. Race Marking 2. Clock Striking Please note that if you are a Convoying Organisation the following documents are also relevant 3. Guidance for Convoying Organisations 4. Additional rules for Convoyers (Please note that guidance for Welsh and Scottish liberation sites will be published in due course) 5. Risk Assessement for Convoyers - This is a requirement for the use of liberatioin sites. Guidance should be strictly implemented. If you are a convoying organisation then you should bring the relevant documents to the attention of your convoying team/s and ensure that all marking stations are aware of the requirements of the guidance listed above.  Please note that in addition to moving to Step 2 of the Governments road map referred to in the guidance; we will not be permitted to start racing until DEFRA reinstate the General license for Gatherings.  Ian Evans CEO

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 01 April 2021 17:10
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: AVIAN INFLUENZA UPDATE 1st APRIL 2021

Following receipt of yesterday's communication from DEFRA (see below) I followed up my previous emails requesting a meeting to allow gatherings for racing purposes under the provisions of the General license. Today I received a reply inviting me to a meeting on 9th April at 2pm. Hopefully, this meeting will prove positive from the perspective of pigeon racing but of course there are no guarantees. I will provide an update as soon as possible upon completion of the meeting. Dear Stakeholder, Avian Influenza Risk Levels The risk of HPAI H5N8 incursion in wild birds has been reduced from medium to low (rare but does occur) The risk of HPAI exposure to poultry and captive birds across the whole of GB has reduced from medium to low (rare but does occur) where stringent biosecurity measures are applied. However, remains at medium (occurs regularly) where biosecurity is sub-optimal See the Defra and Animal and Plant Health Agency’s (APHA) risk and outbreak assessments for further information on the evidence which supports these risk levels, these are available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/avian-influenza-bird-flu-in-europe including the Rapid risk assessment on incursion of H5N8 HPAI into housed or not housed poultry flocks and captive birds (updated 29 March 2021) Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) The Avian Influenza Prevention Zones (AIPZs) requiring enhanced biosecurity remain in force across GB until further notice, however AIPZ housing restrictions end at 11:59pm 31 March 2021. All bird keepers should consult the new AIPZ declarations for their administration to ensure they comply with the measures set out in the declaration, including the new legal requirement to keep free ranging birds within fenced areas, and that ponds, watercourses and permanent standing water must be fenced off to minimise any direct or indirect contact with wild birds. Copies of the declarations are available at: England: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu Scotland: www.gov.scot/avianinfluenza Wales: https://gov.wales/all-wales-avian-influenza-bird-flu-prevention-zone Housing remains mandatory for all poultry and captive birds which are located in the 3km Protection Zone surrounding an infected premises. Bird keepers can check where disease control zones are currently located and if they are in a zone using the Defra and APHA interactive map The new cases of avian influenza emphasise that high standards of biosecurity remain essential as infection may still be present in the environment To help ensure bird keepers meet the requirements set out in the AIPZ declarations and protect their birds from this highly infectious virus, we have provided biosecurity guidance and published a biosecurity self-assessment checklist. If bird keepers intend to allow their birds outside after 31 March they must take action before they release birds to prepare the outside areas. Read our guidance on how to prepare for safe release of your birds. In particular it is critical that bird keepers prevent contact either directly or indirectly between their birds and wild birds including: when birds are released they must be in a fenced area; where necessary ponds and watercourses must be fenced off to minimise contact with wild birds; taking action to protect bedding, feed and water sources at all times from contact with both wild birds and bird faeces. Kind regards Lara Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 31 March 2021 11:13
To: Secretary National Flying Club
Subject: CHANNEL RACING - EU REGULATIONS

Dear Secretary, Please click on the following link that will direct you to the RPRA website. This will provide you with an opportunity to read a report on the issues associated with EU Animal Health Regulations and the possible solutions . https://www.rpra.org/euahregs-channel-racing/ Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 31 March 2021 10:45
To: Secretary National Flying Club
Subject: AVIAN INFLUENZA UPDATE

The latest statement from DEFRA in relation to Avian Influenza included below along with the relevant extract from the AI Code of Practice. The following is an extract from the Avian Influenza Code of Practice for Pigeon Racing. For more info please visit https://www.rpra.org/avian-influenza-code-practice-pigeon-racing/ Please note that multi loft training remains banned throughout the UK. As soon as we have an update in relation to the General License for Gatherings you will be updated. AI Code of Practice extract 2) In Outbreak areas: where an Infected Premises has been confirmed and your loft is within the Protection or Surveillance Zones surrounding this: • You must follow any restrictions imposed. You may need to apply for licences to undertake certain actions – information on the restrictions and the licences will bemade available on the government websites. • In a 10km Surveillance Zone you can let your birds out for exercise, though they must not have an open loft to freely come and go, which would increase the chance of wild birds entering your loft and contaminating it. • If your birds are located in the 3km Protection Zone you will be able to exercise your birds (not with an open loft) once preliminary cleaning and disinfection has been completed at the Infected Premises and the initial epidemiological investigations have been completed, to ensure there are no high risk contacts to your loft (for example workers, veterinary visits, feed deliveries, visitors, etc). If the time to complete the preliminary cleaning and disinfection and epidemiological investigations is long then if you think there may be welfare issues for your birds, exercising may be allowed following agreement from an official veterinary welfare request and obtaining a licence to do so. • If your birds are located in the 3km Protection Zone you cannot train or race your birds until the larger Surveillance Zone has been lifted. Generally it takes around 30- 40 days after the outbreak has been confirmed to lift these zones, but may be significantly longer if further outbreaks occur in the area. DEFRA UPDATE Dear Stakeholder, New Cases of Avian Influenza On 27th March 2021 Avian influenza H5N8 was confirmed in broiler chickens at a commercial premises near Uttoxeter, East Staffordshire. On the 29th March 2021 this was confirmed as a highly pathogenic strain (HPAI H5N8). A 3km Protection and 10km Surveillance Zone has been put in place around the infected premises. On 26th March 2021 Avian influenza H5N3 was confirmed in turkey breeders at a commercial premises near Winsford, Cheshire West and Chester. On 27th March 2021 this was confirmed as a low pathogenic strain (LPAI H5N3). A 1km Restricted Zone has been put in place around the infected premises. Further details on the latest situation and the measures that apply in each of these disease control zones can be found on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu What does this mean for the lifting of the housing measures and the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ)? In light of the two most recent cases of avian influenza we urgently reviewed the risk of avian influenza to both wild and kept birds and the implications of preceding with the lifting of the housing measures component of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ). Following the review of the risk the compulsory housing measures for poultry and captive birds will still be lifted across GB at 23:59 on the 31st March 2021. The AIPZs requiring enhanced biosecurity will remain in force across GB but Wednesday 31 March 2021 will be the last day poultry and other captive birds will need to be housed (housing restrictions end 23:59 31 March 2021). Bird gatherings will remain prohibited. However, housing remains mandatory for all poultry and captive birds which are located in the 3km Protection Zone surrounding an infected premises. Check where disease control zones are currently located and if you are in zone on our interactive map The new cases of avian influenza emphasise that high standards of biosecurity remain essential as infection may still be present in the environment. All bird keepers (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements under the AIPZ to protect their birds from this highly infectious virus. To assist all bird keepers in complying with these rule we have published both biosecurity guidance and a biosecurity self-assessment checklist. If bird keepers intend to allow their birds outside after 31 March they must take action now to prepare the outside areas. Read our guidance on how to prepare for safe release of your birds. In particular it is critical that bird keepers prevent contact either directly or indirectly between their birds and wild birds including: when birds are released they must be in a fenced area; where necessary ponds and watercourses must be fenced off to minimise contact with wild birds; taking action to protect bedding, feed and water sources at all times from contact with both wild birds and bird faeces. Biosecurity guidance and information on the latest avian influenza situation are available at: England: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu Scotland: www.gov.scot/avianinfluenza Wales: https://gov.wales/avian-influenza-bird-flu Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 29 March 2021 12:00
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: TRAINING IN ENGLAND

In line with the Government Covid roadmap and the current Avian Influenza restrictions, single loft training will be permitted from 29th March 2021. Multiple loft training (more than one loft) is NOT permitted, and will remain prohibited until the General License for Bird Gatherings is reinstated . For the latest updates in relation to the General License for Gatherings please refer to the RPRA website Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 25 March 2021 11:43
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: CHANNEL RACING - BREXIT

As you will be aware from my previous publication DEFRA had confirmed that Racing pigeons transported into the EU from the UK for Racing purposes i.e. to be liberated in the EU to fly back to the UK were exempt from the Animal Health requirements. Following this confirmation we have been working with French Border control to establish what paperwork was required. The outcome of this has been that there is a very different opinion to the 'import' of racing pigeons into the EU from the UK for racing purposes in terms of the health documentation. The current position of the French border control would make the prospect of racing from France or any EU country virtually impossible. There has been successful lobbying of the EU commission by the FCI and European racing organisations in terms of exemptions for racing in relation to the the new animal health laws. While it seems the commission has now excluded racing pigeons from such requirements it has recently become apparent that this is only the case for transport within the EU, by EU members states. What is being done? I am in regular contact with French Border control, FCI, FCF (French pigeon Racing Federation) to try and reach a position whereby we can make channel racing achievable. I have also brought this issue to the attention of DEFRA who are looking into the issues. While I am not an expert in the animal health requirements I am of the opinion that article 62 of the animal health requirements for Third countries (countries outside of the EU), that allows such countries to apply for certain derogations (exemptions), is the avenue to take. However, the process for achieving these derogations is yet to be confirmed. The FCI and FCF are currently assisting in trying to establish the process with the Commission and the French Authorities. Please be assured that everything that can be done is being done. Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 24 March 2021 17:32
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: RPRA HQ new address

RPRA HQ has moved to: Bizspace Corinium House Corinium Avenue Barnwood Gloucester GL4 3HX Any post sent to The Reddings will also be forwarded. Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 23 March 2021 16:18
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: Meeting of the Avian Influenza stakeholder group 23rd March 2021

This morning I attended the meeting of the above group organised by DEFRA. The following is a summary of the update provided by DEFRA. 1. As previously publicised the housing measures will be removed from mid night 31st March 2021. 2. An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone will remain in place across the UK until the risk is assessed as low. 3. The current risk level has been assessed as being between mid and high level. 4. The General license for bird gatherings will be reinstated when the risk level is deemed to be low. 5. The next review will be carried out at the end of March A number of stakeholders asked why DEFRA had not published a 'Road Map' (plan) for when restriction could be lifted. The response outlined that it was impossible to predict when the risk would be assessed as low. I raised the question would Defra be considering the lifting of the ban on gatherings for specific species of birds ie. Before the 'blanket ban was lifted' . It was outlined that pigeons were deemed a low risk of transmitting/spreading avian influenza. Defra's reply was that it was possible that the gatherings could be permitted for certain species deemed low risk in advance of other species of birds. With this in mind I have written to the Defra representatives to request a meeting in advance of the next risk assessment at the end of March Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 10 March 2021 14:28
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: Vaccination Code of Practice (RPRA Rules p29)

As a result of current social distancing rules, the requirement for the vaccination of pigeons to be witnessed by two association members has been relaxed. Wherever possible vaccination should be witnessed by family members or members of the same household. This will remain in place until the Government lifts the restriction on social distancing. Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 09 March 2021 12:58
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: RELOCATION OF RPRA HEADQUARTERS

We will be moving from The Reddings week commencing 22nd March 2021. It is possible there will be some disruption to services between 22nd and 26th March. Contact telephone numbers will remain the same and we will inform the fancy of the new address in due course. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. Ian Evans CEO

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 03 March 2021 09:32
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: Statement from the Raptor Alliance

On the 5th February 2021 a meeting between the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Pigeon Racing- Craig Williams MP for Montgomeryshire, DEFRA minister and senior DEFRA officials took place. At this meeting the APPG Chair raised the issues we are experiencing with the rising bird of prey population and specifically the artificial breeding sites used to support Falcons in towns and cities. The DEFRA minister was sympathetic towards the issues experienced by pigeon fanciers and has agreed to facilitate further discussions with DEFRA officials, APPG , Natural England, RSPB and the Hawk and Owl trust. The aim of these discussions is to work towards a Government endorsed guidance for the siting of raptor nest boxes. This has been seen as a very positive step and we thank Craig Williams MP and Chris Guyver of Pepper Shackleton Wellard Ltd for their continued support Colin Clarke - Chair of the Raptor Alliance

 

From: RPRA <>;
Sent: 23 February 2021 10:24
To: Secretary National Flying Club:
Subject: TRAINING AND RACING UPDATE

We are sure that everyone is following the updates in relation to Covid 19 and Avian Influenza restrictions to try and get an indication as to when pigeon racing may commence. The devolved Governments provided an update last week and now that the Prime Minister has provided his initial road map out of lockdown we thought it we be the right time to provide an update in relation to the commencement of Racing and Training. While the plan out of lockdown is/will be different within England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland we have taken the following content from the PM's announcement as a positive step towards the commencement of racing in England. We will monitor the additional information that comes from the devolved Governments and provide updates as and when necessary. From 29 March - (at the earliest) Stay at home guidance be dropped. Significant loosening of how far people can travel but people will be encouraged to minimise travel. Outdoor organised sports will return. Six people or two families can meet outside. From 12th April (at the earliest) One household will be allowed to stay overnight somewhere in the UK. (Indicating wider travel will be permitted) Taking the above into consideration and subject to confirmation by the Prime Minister at the appropriate milestones we envisage that; 1. At the earliest, training would be permitted from 29th March 2021. 2. At the earliest, Racing will commence from 12th April 2021 with race marking etc taking place outside. In preparation for the commencement of racing under these restrictions we will develop and issue guidance similar to that used in 2020. However, In addition to the Covid-19 restrictions we also have to consider the current restrictions in place due to Avian Influenza. The Code of Practice for Pigeon Racing published on the RPRA website will provide a detailed overview https://www.rpra.org/avian-influenza-code-practice-pigeon-racing/ A summary of the code is as follows: From December 14th, 2020, when a housing requirement in the AIPZ comes into force in Great Britain, birds will only be allowed out for exercise for up to one hour once each day. You may train birds as a single loft but must not mix birds from other lofts. You must not have an open loft that allows the birds to freely come and go, which would increase the chance of wild birds entering your loft and contaminating it. Part 2 BIRD GATHERINGS – GENERAL LICENCE Please note the General License for bird gatherings was revoked on 11 November 2020. This means that all racing, shows, training, sales, or auctions where birds are physically brought together from multiple lofts are banned until the General License is reinstated. This means that fanciers should not enter another's loft or premises, footwear/clothing should be clean and not worn at your own loft, and hands washed/hand sanitiser gel used. Questions and answers Q - Can I train my birds ? A. - No. While the current Avian Influenza code of practice permits single loft training (multiple loft/group training is not allowed as this would be classed as a gathering) the Covid 19 restrictions relating to travel mean that training is currently NOT permitted. Q - When will I be able to train? A - Subject to confirmation nearer the date, you will be able to train at the earliest from 29th March 2021. Q - Why can't I train before 29th March 2021? A - The Government's stay at home policy will remain in force until at least 29th March 2021. Q - When will the General license for bird Gatherings be re-instated ? A - There is no real indication towards a date. The CEO is regularly attending the Stakeholder meetings arranged by the APHA and will provide an update as soon as there are any developments. Q - Will the RPRA be producing guidance for Race Marking, Convoyers, Clock setting etc? A - Yes. This will be developed and issued as soon as possible. Q - My organisation's race programme commences prior to the 12th April. What should we do ? A - We will make contact with each convoying organisation to establish a revised race programme. Q - Is the commencement of racing from 12th April 2021 subject to the General license being reinstated ? A - Yes - without this racing cannot commence. Ian Evans CEO