Six racing pigeons in Belgium were found to have been doped with drugs such as cocaine and painkillers.
The doping was revealed when the Belgian pigeon-racing
federation sent samples from 20 birds to the National Horseracing Authority of
Southern Africa. The birds tested positive for numerous drugs. Pigeon racing in Belgium is a highly lucrative sport.
In May a Belgian racing pigeon called Bolt - named after Olympic gold-winning
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt - was sold to a Chinese businessman for a world
record price of 310,000 euros (£260,000, $400,000). It was thought that the buyer wanted to use Bolt for breeding more birds.
YouTube link. Original BBC video.
Riches and glamour connected with racing pigeons
have brought many problems, including thefts from breeders and racketeering. The doping of the birds was only unearthed in South Africa -
tests carried out in Belgium did not reveal a problem. The sport revolves around specially bred and trained pigeons released from a
specific location and racing back to their home loft.