The Island’s pigeon fanciers discovered this week how the war is going to affect their activities. Under a Defence of the Realm regulation dating from November 1914, anyone who wants to keep pigeons will need to apply for a permit and observe strict new rules on transporting and releasing their birds.
Amid concerns that enemy spies and informants could be using pigeons to transmit secret information, there has been a decision to severely restrict activities involving these birds. The new regulation specifies that no person can keep or have on their person, or carry, or liberate, or bring into Jersey a carrier or homing pigeon without a permit. These are obtainable by application from the Town Hall on a free of charge basis.
The new rules formalise restrictions placed on the export of pigeons soon after the start of the war. From September 1914, no-one was permitted to export racing or homing pigeons to the UK, either for sale, exhibition or competition. With permission of the Lieutenant Governor, however, the Jersey Poultry and Ornithological Society were allowed to continue sending what are termed ‘fancy breeds’ of pigeon.