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The Jamaica Racing Pigeon Federation (JRPF) and the Jamaica Racing Pigeon Union (JRPU) are flying the flag of the racing game on the island, though there are other small clubs scattered around the island and compete regionally.

President of the JRPF Moses Barnes says the high cost of maintaining the birds and poor public awareness has hindered a full take-off of the true sport of kings.

The nutrition of the bird, he reasoned, is a major factor as specialised feed and supplements come at considerable costs. Rising costs in building material, too, impacts the expensive layout associated with providing proper homes for the birds, plus breeding and competition preparation adds to the bill.

With no corporate support or waivers from government on imported items, the racing pigeon man must dip deep into his pocket to cover the soaring costs.

“The sport is expensive because we are a non-profit group and rely on entry fee from our members and fund-raisers to offset expenses for the races. Mind you, there are times when I must spend a little more for the show to go,” Barnes told the Jamaica Observer.

These thoroughbreds of the skies do not only fly fast — possessing the potential to reach speeds of up to 100km an hour — but they must find their home lofts from places they have never been before.

Pigeon racing soaring to new heights in Jamaica

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