Previously I read an article on fanciers fiddling with their electronic rings, as well as drivers on the truck that are on fancier’s payroll to manipulate race results. Photos were also placed in that article of how pigeons were liberated from a truck prior to the liberation time. It is time to speak out against the cheaters and to expose them. I firmly believe that a cheater will think twice if they know they will be exposed if caught. That is how the media worldwide contributes in fighting crime. Believe me if I tell you that these practises also happened in other Federations in the past. We have to be on our toes and open our eyes. Too long these practices were kept quiet, as we are a proud nation that does not like to get involved! Too long did fanciers know about the practises of their friends and kept quiet. Silence is the breeding sperm of crime.
I notice that the Editor of our magazine invited articles on the so called existence of steam boxes. I heard about and saw these boxes some years ago when they were ordered from a carpenter for a fancier. I remember the discussion that these boxes had to be solid in order for the pigeons not to be disturbed at the club on basketing night. I also heard about these boxes and how they work from another source recently. Today I know enough about these boxes to state that this evil has got the potential to destroy our sport completely. It seems as if these boxes has become the order of the day and are being sold and manufactured by prominent fanciers in South Africa. The muty that are being used to steam the pigeons are also being supplied. It is also freely available over the counter at pharmacies. It is sad to say that the forbidden substance Bromhexine is not the flavour of the day anymore. It is being regarded as old fashioned.
How does this contraption work , you may ask. This steaming box is a rather solid box that can house a smaller number of pigeons. It has got an intake hole trough which a compressor nebulizer apparatus (steaming machine) is used to blow the forbidden substance in steam form into the box, forcing the pigeon to inhale it. This forbidden substance enhances the oxygen intake of the pigeon. It clears the slime from the lung channels thus giving the pigeon a super oxygen intake advantage over any other bird in the race. We all know the importance of oxygen for any athlete being it human or animal. It is the difference between winning and loosing. The product used to steam the athletes is a common mucolytic / bronchodilator range substance. The active ingredient in these substances is mostly forbidden. You can smell these substances on pigeons when they are basketed as the steam dampens the birds. Here is the catch!!! This method cannot be traced in the droppings of the pigeon on the night of basketing.
Word has it that these boxes are in the possession of many leading fanciers in South Africa. The interesting thing is that these fanciers are close knit friendships. It seems as if they never mention names, as they all share in the money and the glory of our sport.
Now if ever there is a snake in the grass that will chase fanciers out of our sport, it is this practise. So far not many fanciers know about this practice as it is being used with the greatest secrecy.
What happened to flying the natural pigeon. What happened to breeding the champion. What happened to the pride of owning a truthful loft of pigeons. It is all going out the back door and that because of a few fanciers in the sport with a cheating mind. One can ask; Cheater, are your pigeons really that good? If they are, then why do you need a steam box.
Let us not ran away from our lovely sport, but let us build an army of protesters against this practise. Report every person you know that possesses this box, as he does not necessarily use it to steam his pigeons with medicine. As they say with their Sunday faces! The boxes are not big and it takes about 20 minutes to steam treat about 15 pigeons. You can calculate how long it would take to steam a race loft full of pigeons. When will the fancier ever get to work? The bottom line is they use it to boost their race team with banned substances on basketing day.
Due to the fact that we kept quite about these unfair practises for so long it has escalated to a dilemma. I think it is time to act. We should not only write about the champions in our midst, but we must also flash out the cheaters. It is part of protecting our sport and to build a playing field that is level for fair competition.
Our mission should be to change the mental thinking of these fanciers to fair pigeon racing. Help them to breed quality pigeons and have a pride in doing so. Teach them to appreciate and respect a loft of good pigeons. They really need help!
Lastly let us always have good word towards fancier that abide by the rules and practises the art of pigeon racing like I got to know it over the years gone by.