Activities including the importing, breeding, trading in and translocation of pigeons are now listed as prohibited activities in terms of the Invasive and Alien Species List as published by the department of water and environmental affairs,” the National Council of SPCAs said in a statement.

The prohibition included “releasing of any specimen of a listed invasive species” which effectively meant that “releasing pigeons to race or as homing pigeons” was illegal.

The NSPCA said the new legislation was published in the Government Gazette on August 1.



“Our concerns include the rate of attrition during races. That is, the high number of pigeons who simply do not ever reach their race destination for various reasons including exhaustion, and racing taking place in inclement or extreme weather conditions.”

Relevant industry role players had been informed about the new legislation and the NSPCA was obligated to report any violations to the department, it said.

President of the SA National Pigeon Organisation (Sanpo), Faunty Gillmer said they were seeking a meeting with the environmental affairs minister.

He said the new law, which had been in the pipeline since 2004, would do away with the 100-year-old sport of pigeon racing.


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