SANPO Press Release

It has been brought to SANPO’s attention various articles pertaining to the South African Million Dollar Race and PETA and the NSPCA to discourage various high-profile persons from participating in the Sport of Pigeon Racing.

What these articles all have in common is that they are conservative with the truth.

The SAMDPR is a Private Business Venture, with Private Equity Holder and is a business transaction between the organisers and the fanciers electing to enter. Prize moneys are apportioned to the various position the fanciers entries obtain against the other competing pigeons whereby all fly to one loft – hence the term One Loft Race.

SANPO is not involved in the running of this event, suffice to say that as Governing Body of the Sport in South Africa, SANPO have been in meetings with the organisers raising areas of concern pertaining to the well-being and training of Racing Pigeons at this event.

This is a vastly different concept to the sport of racing pigeons as most people know it, where it is practiced in humble surroundings from the Property of the Fancier, who mainly take part in Pigeon Racing as an addition to a Hobby of keeping pigeons. SANPO’s prime goal is to protect, promote, and stimulate the art of Pigeon Racing and the Showing of pigeons in South Africa, having over 5000 such members on their register.

SANPO and all of its members are opposed to any form of animal cruelty toward pigeons, whether racing or show pigeons, or any other pigeons for that matter, and would be the first to object to such behaviour in the form of disciplining its members should such behaviour be proved.

What however is notable, is the combining of an Animal Welfare Society, which is governed by the Animal Protection Act No 71 of 1962 in exercising its duty, now losing focus as it combines with an Animal Rights movement to propel their ongoing attempt of trying to stop pigeon fanciers from participating in races. It is their stated policy to stop all forms of sport involving animals although these very same persons are conspicuous by their absence in extremely large money events held involving animals in different industries not only in this country but other countries across the globe.

SANPO is of the opinion that as soon as you cross a very distinct line between Animal Welfare and Animal Rights, you are no longer are objective, become an Activist and fail in exercising what you are supposed to be doing least not by refraining from stating all the facts.

When referring to deaths of pigeons, one should not emphasise this on the back of a particular “sport event” generalising the entire sporting code as complicit in a blinded endeavour to try to push their narrative and agenda.

SANPO is aware of the losses at the SAMDPR and should these losses have occurred due to the cruelty toward these pigeons SANPO would have been on the forefront, propagating the closure of the event. However, the 2019/20 losses were not due to cruelty from SANPO’s own investigations but rather as a result of a new strain of Paramyxo virus which has decimated many thousands of birds across the world not just pigeons and not just in South Africa.

This virus was first detected in the later part of 2018, when the first fatalities amongst wild doves, pigeons and other birds specie were being detected. Pakistan, Morocco and some European Countries flocks were decimated and it did not take long before the virus entered South Africa. The same phenomenon was experienced in South Africa, to such an extent that the SANPO veterinarian was seconded to Morocco to investigate the cause and to try and “Type” the virus if indeed a virus.

The SAMDPR no doubt also experienced losses as a result of this and to climb on the bandwagon to comb the entire sport in the country on the basis on a single organisation is not just unfair but unethical.

Upon return and further research investigation by the SANPO Vet – Dr. Ockert Botha – the virus was isolated, “typed” and a inoculation developed which is now available against this strain of Paramyxo virus. This is a major breakthrough in the Pigeon Sport that will prevent many bird species from succumbing to similar fate in future.

Alternate facts such as pigeon dying of dehydration, starvation, being caught by predators are all touted as contributing factors to the losses experienced at the MDPR, but nowhere is the effect of the above virus mentioned anywhere.

The real facts are that pigeon fanciers never starve their pigeons, never send them in sub- standard condition to any race, and the well-being of every pigeon in a fanciers loft is to them the same as the well-being of a family member – they are part of their family in a matter of speaking. As for water pigeons regularly, stop to drink en-route home putting pay to these unsubstantiated allegations.

A hobby/sport practiced since the earliest of time, now being seen by these animal rights and Animal Welfare Organisations as “low-hanging” fruits that would push their agenda and gain more public donations from the gullible ill-informed individual that they so desperately need to further their ailing successes in other fields. Hypocrisy at its highest when comparing the statistics of these same organisations pertaining to animals impounded/confiscated vs these same animals euthanised by these very organisations

SANPO has information that one of these organisations kill cats and dogs because they do not believe in pet ownership. See

We leave you to make your own deductions as to the ethics of this organisation.

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