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Scottish Homing Union Update - 22-03-21

Dear J Murphy

FAO All Scottish Homing Union Race organisers and SHU members - Scottish Government statement 16 March 2021

The Scottish Government have indicated that from the 2nd of April the Covid  'stay at home' message will be relaxed to 'stay local' - (Travel within your local council/region area will be permitted so training could begin)

From 26th April it is hoped to allow travel throughout mainland Scotland subject to other restrictions that may remain in place.  Outdoor gatherings of 6 people from 3 households are allowed meaning race marking could be carried out outdoors however, liberations for such races would have to be from within Scottish mainland.

At 26th April indoor gatherings remain restricted to 4 people from 2 households 

While the above is good news, unfortunately AVIAN FLU restrictions remain in place and all birds, domestic and commercial must be housed (with the exception of a short period of up to an hour each day in the case of our racing pigeons)

Until the General Licence for bird gatherings is reinstated no training/ racing can take place in the UK.  SHU will inform you as soon as the licence is reinstated but please access the Scottish government website for up-to-date information on the Avian Flu situation

The following is a statement from SHU President Gordon Turnbull written Sunday 25th October 2020 for your information

Coronavirus 19 Pandemic

When the Coronavirus Pandemic first broke out it was being dealt with by the UK Government from Westminster and rather than become involved I was quite happy to leave it to the RPRA who said that they were dealing with the Government Committee responsible for looking after pigeon racing.

When it was announced that the four 'home nations' would be dealing with the pandemic separately I immediately found out who was dealing with Pigeon Racing on behalf of the Scottish Government.

The minister was, in fact, Marie Gougeon, I e.mailed her and got a reply saying she was waiting for word from the RPRA and the Welsh Homing Union and that we could only take our pigeons for a maximum distance of five miles and that she would get back to me when she received the information.

I immediately e.mailed the Minister and pointed out to her that the RPRA and Welsh Homing Union had nothing whatsoever to do with the running of the SHU and that we were looking after the interests of the vast majority of pigeon fanciers in Scotland, had our own constitution and rules and had no official links with either organisation.

I sent e.mails to both the Minister and her Private Secretary every day trying to speak to someone on behalf of the SHU with nothing other than an acknowledgement that my e.mails had been received.

In March 2020 I sent the Minister and her Private Secretary a copy of the procedures which the SHU had laid out for members to carry out training and racing safely within the limitations and guidelines laid down by the Scottish Government and said that if we received no reply that the SHU would assume our procedures were acceptable and that we would use them as a basis to carry out our training and racing.

In the meantime the RPRA allowed their members in Scotland to carry out group training, organised a race in England and then informed members in Scotland that they had unlimited travel and that they could soon race their pigeons.

I, Ian Noble (Sen VP and Dougie Bald (Jun VP) had a conference call with the management committee of the RPRA during which it became abundantly clear that they had had no communication or guidance from the Government in Westminster and the sole contact with the Scottish Government was that they spoke to 'someone to do with security' (Holyrood was, and still is in shutdown) who did not tell them they couldn't race pigeons, so they made the decision that they could.

After the conference call with the RPRA which only told us that the RPRA were going to do what they wanted and continue racing as nobody had actually (unlike the SHU) given them anything in writing to say they could not, we came to the conclusion that we had done everything in our power to follow the guidance of the Scottish Government and we gave guidance to our members to start racing and ensure that they followed the procedures that the Union and the Scottish Government had laid down.

I then received an invitation to join a conference call with a member of the Scottish Government and DEFRA which took place about an hour after I had sent out an e.mail saying that we could start racing.  I fully explained the SHU position to him on Pigeon Racing and how we could manage it safely within the Scottish Government guidelines.  I was told that he would pass on everything that I had said and explained to the Minister who would then get back to me.

I am writing this on Sunday 25 October (2020) and as yet I have not even received an acknowledgement of the conference call never mind a reply.

This statement is a short summary of what took place from when the CORONAVIRUS-19 Pandemic started and when we started racing again.  There may be one or two items which I have not fully covered, but I just felt that you, as members, should have a good idea of what has been happening and how we have been trying to deal with it on your behalf.

Signed. Gordon Turnbull

SHU President

Yours sincerely

Mrs Linda Brooks
Scottish Homing Union Secretary