Opinion: Homing pigeons

POSTED: 02/1/12 12:46 PM

It’s not something we think about every day: homing pigeons. People who make breeding these pigeons are called duivenmelker in Dutch it sounds a bit denigrating and it places the pigeon-breeders in the category of old fools who have nothing better to do. They are, in a way, pathetic.
But there is nothing pathetic about Pieter Veenstra, a professional pigeon-breeder who lives in a luxurious villa in Friesland in a place few people have ever heard of: Drachtstercompagnie.
Veenstra put pigeon-breeding as a hot item on the world map this week when he sold one of his top pigeons on the Belgian internet auction site Pigeon Paradise for a record €250,400 (close to $328,000) to a Chinese pigeon-enthusiast.
Veenstra took 245 of his pigeons to the auction over the past two weeks. The yielded close to €1.9 million (almost $2.5 million).
We’ll never think the same way about duivenmelkers again, and it’s not just about the money. There is a video of Veenstra on Youtube that makes a few things clear: the pigeon-breeder is doing financially extremely well but above all, and we figure this is the key to his success, he loves his animals.
Veenstra’s top pigeon, Dolce Vita went for $328,000 to Hu Zhen Yu, a Chinese shipping magnate with interest in pigeon-racing in southern China. Sadly, Dolce Vita will never fly again; the bird will be used for breeding purposes only.
There’s a good reason for this: homing pigeons always fly back to the place where they were born, so if the Chinese buyer would get it into his head to race the bird, it would go straight back to Drachtstercompagnie.

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