Copyright 2008 John Clements.
The World Market in Pigeons
The entire hullabaloo by experts about national economies and stock markets
falls leaves me a bit cold but if my pension stopped and I would be in big trouble, then I suppose I too would become a bit hot under the collar. Nevertheless stock markets are not the only economies, there are others. The world pigeon economy for a start; only a fraction of one percent of UK fanciers come close to understanding it, by and large we in the UK take what is on offer without question.
We are consumers of pigeons bred and created by other countries. How this has happened over the years takes some explanation.
Historically Belgium is a great exporter of pigeons simply because they have managed to create, despite two world wars, a series of hugely important races (the International Series from Pau, Barcelona, Tarbes, Marseilles and Perpignan) on the back of which they have established a reputation for breeding. The organisation of these races is a huge achievement. They act as the pigeon equivalent of an international financial market such as the New York stock exchange, the Tokyo stock exchange and the London Stock exchange. By and large they set the quality and the price of pigeons.
As prices go up and down in the stock markets of the world strains or families of pigeons go up and down in International races. It may be the Kuypers this year or the Van der Wegen. The following year it may be the Didi strain or the Theelen cross. International races act like a barometer of quality and price simply because they are perceived to be a result that provides an all round honest assessment. They are also perceived to set a high standard in competition upon which most fanciers, even in countries other than their own can agree upon. Price and fashion is set by the results from these races.
This of course filters down even to lower levels, the Middle Distance and the Sprinters, although not International, get the benefit from being associated and from the same background that race long distance pigeon internationally. A whole network of publicity is gradually built on the back of the ability of certain countries to organise huge races of International importance. Very few in the UK understand this.
The next question is will this situation continue. The international financier George Soros was interviewed on the BBC today programme on the possible world economic crisis. He saw China and India being on the up and the USA in retreat. China and India are replacing the United States as the engine for economic conditions. The same thing could happen in pigeons. China, with its huge population, could well begin to organise massive Long Distance pigeon races of perhaps a hundred thousand pigeons or more. Rich fanciers from Belgium The Netherlands and other countries could well establish lofts there to compete against the Chinese in these races. These races would not be "One- Loft" races with dubious rules and little control but would be electronically controlled well-organised massive events similar to Belgian International races. It is possible that eventually these races would become the shop window to the world of Pigeon Racing. Belgium and the Netherlands would be usurped by either China or India. It may well be that Beijing would surpass Barcelona in size and quality just as China has largely overtaken the USA in manufacturing output.
During the next twenty years we are in for big changes in the pigeon world. It will almost certainly be unexpected and not go strictly according to plan. It might well be that a few Irish lofts set up in China and run by Irish fanciers competing in the new style Chinese International races may well become the market leader in quality pigeons. That would take a whole lot of us completely by surprise for these pigeons have been sitting on our doorstep all the time and have largely gone unnoticed. This is not a forecast but stranger things have happened in the past. Even the Roman Empire collapsed and that was the biggest organisation in the known world at the time.