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The UK's biggest pigeon event still going ahead – with no pigeons

'Zombie pigeons' walk with twisted necks after contracting illness

One of the UK's biggest events, which displays around 1,000 show pigeons and 2,000 racing pigeons each year, plans to go ahead – despite having no birds.

The annual British Homing World Show in Blackpool attracts over 15,000 pigeon fanciers each year. This year, pigeons will not be allowed in the venue due to it being inside a 10k Avian Flu Surveillance Zone.

It comes after over 3.2 million poultry were culled last year during Europe's biggest-ever outbreak of bird flu.

This means that show classes for the 1,600 pigeons have been axed but the trade show, pigeon auctions and social events are going ahead as planned.

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SWNS

Chris Sutton, the chief executive of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association said that it's "very disappointing" the show can't go ahead as normal.

He said: "The Winter Gardens is 250m inside the surveillance zone so we tried to find an alternative location for the show racer competition but the cost was prohibitive as we run as a charity.

"There were 1,600 pigeons which were going to be shown but that won't be going ahead and people have prepared their pigeons for these shows.

"It is very disappointing because a lot of work has gone into organising the show, but we felt it was important to go ahead with the other elements.

"The pigeon fanciers are still attending because there is the social side of it as well.

"There is still lots to do and it will be a successful show.

"All kudos to the council and the Winter Gardens who have done as much as they can to help us."

Chris added: "Bird flu is going to continue to be a challenge until a vaccination can be found, so we have to show the way in continuing to hold the show despite the difficult circumstances."

Fanciers will be able to view pigeons for sale at another venue in the seaside town and will have to bid on a live-streamed auction.

They will not be able to take them back to their hotels and will have to pick up the birds when they leave Blackpool.

A Blackpool Council spokesperson said: "This is an important event in Blackpool's calendar and we are delighted that despite the challenges the bulk of it is going ahead."

Credit: SWNS.

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