May 31, 1915
The sport of homing has grown enormously in recent years and in the pastimes of the day only bowls shows a speedier increase in interest and numbers.
Large lofts have been made all over the country; the King, after racing under the name of Mr. Jones, decided to race under his title, members of Parliament became instructed in the sport and organised special races for big prizes, and among other well-known people to lend assistance to the sport was J.B. Joel.
Homing was flourishing fast, and now the war has dragged it into its grips and the sport will receive a setback which will keep it lowly for many years.
A new order has been sent to owners of homers, which in effect says that not only shall there be no racing but the birds shall not be allowed to exercise in public.
This is a blow to the homing fancy, and yet they were prepared for it, inasmuch as there is good ground for believing that official statements have been made known to Germany through the agency of the winged messengers.
It is chiefly on the East Coast that birds from Germany have landed and been made, as it were “interned prisoners.” Liverpool has had but a few.
Speaking to the authority on homing, an “Echo” representative was informed that the homing “fancy” will have to destroy many of their birds.
“Breeding,” says this authority, “ill stop instantly, and many young birds will be destroyed.
The sport leapt into favour last season, and consequently time and money spent upon the lofts by newcomers to the game will be lost, for they will never recover their enthusiasm, interest having been curbed at the most awkward point.
Probably 100,000 birds will be destroyed in England in the next few weeks as a consequence of the Government’s order not to race and not to allow flying of any kind.
Another cause is the great amount of trouble entailed by transference of birds from one owner to another. The law is very stringent on the point that each person must have a permit signed by the police, and trafficking in birds will practically become a blank.”
This gentleman has some 300 birds in his loft at Sefton, and he pointed to the loss entailed by a Chorley fancier (Mr. Jackson) who has probably as many as 600 birds in his loft.
The extent to which homing has grown is proved by the fact that there are over a million birds in England, and racing is carried on for big stakes and sweepstakes.
Asked what effect the cessation of the sport would have upon the quality of the birds, our informant said: – “It will be all for the good of the sport. All the birds will be weeded out in the great slaughter that will be started this week, and pigeon-pies will be a favourite dish. However, the lasting good that will result from the stoppage must be to our benefit, and we must not grumble.
There can be no doubt that homers will improve in class, and some excellent stocks will be the outcome.
For the time being, as already stated, breeding will cease, but when the war is over there will be excellent products, and long-distance races will result in record times being chronicled.”
(Liverpool Echo: May 31, 1915)