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Last Updated: Friday, 17 September, 2004, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Racing pigeon is tested for drugs
A pigeon from Cumbria is one of the first in the country to undergo a routine drug test after winning a race.

The Royal Pigeon Racing Association has sent away samples of droppings from the pigeon owned by Paul Kenney, from Flimby, Cumbria.

The droppings will be analysed for performance-enhancing steroids and hormones as part of new sport rules.

Mr Kenney says he is not worried about the test and does not believe drugs are being used in pigeon racing.

The association took samples from several birds from around the country but the pigeon belonging to Mr Kenney, who keeps pigeons with his father-in-law Joe Kennedy, was the first to be tested.

The bird was chosen after winning the 200-mile Derwent Valley Federation race from Cheltenham Racecourse.

Mr Kenney said: "If you are really frightened about getting your pigeons tested there is something wrong.

"I think 10 out of 10 of our racers will get their pigeons tested no problem. They would feel no guilt because I don't think there's any drugs in pigeon racing."

He said the bird had been tested in Belgium and Holland and he was "110% certain" there was nothing wrong with it.

He said he believed people who raced pigeons thought more of the birds' health than ruining them with drugs.

He said: "I think winning races is mainly through the feeding and motivation of pigeons."

Belgium is regarded as the home of pigeon racing, with 60,000 pigeon fanciers in a nation of 10 million.

In 2001 police raided the homes of 80 breeders and found what was believed to be traces of banned chemicals in bird feed.

Following the case, Begium breeders face a three-year ban from the sport for doping.

Homing pigeon's 3,000-mile trip
18 Aug 04  |  Gloucestershire

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