Dutch pigeon sold for record £209,000
A Dutch pigeon fancier sold one of his birds for the world record sum of £209,000 during an internet auction.Pieter Veenstra auctioned 245 pigeons on the Belgian website Pigeon Paradise, or PIPA, for over £1.6 million, including the record-breaking hen, of the Dolce Vita breed.
The buyer, Hu Zhen Yu, is a Chinese shipping magnate, who bought the bird for breeding rather than racing in China, where pigeon fancying is a fast growing sport and big business.
His purchase beat the previous bestselling pigeon, euro Diamond sold for £142,000 in November last year.
The record breaking price fetched by the bird has sparked a furious debate in the world of pigeon racing, a cult sport in Britain, Belgium, Holland and Germany that is not traditionally regarded as a rich man's pursuit.
Ken Ambler, a fancier from Oxenhope in West Yorkshire, said that the sport pigeon racing had been transformed since he took it up 70 years ago with expensive birds now "housed in luxury" compared to "the basic orange box lofts of yesteryear".
"We must not forget pigeon racing is a simple sport to be enjoyed by all who wish to become involved for the right reasons," he said.
Terence Wright, from Enniscorthy in Ireland, said: "Is it so good to see all these top European birds go to China, to see the best stock leave our shores and to know that soon all our best pigeons blood lines will be no longer available to the fanciers of Europe?"