The Economics Of Pigeons In China

March 8, 2015 in Daily Bulletin


Jeremy Kahn delved into the fascinating Chinese pigeon racing scene:

  • China’s rich are taking an interest in the sport. Pigeons start hundreds of kilometers away with an electronic device. The pigeon with the highest average speed – not the one who makes it to the finish line first – wins.
  • A win can mean a prize of up to €2.5 million.
  • 10% of pigeons don’t make it through the race due to predatory hawks, and pirates that wait along the race route to capture the birds and resell or ransom them.
  • Scandal erupted in one race after a bird tested positive for performance enhancing drugs including cocaine.
  • The sport is so popular that one Chinese businessman paid a record €310,000 for a pigeon.
  • While fast the pigeon is far too valuable to race. Instead its main purpose is now to breed and create the next generation of racing pigeons.

Read what animal rights activists have to say, which country produces the best pigeons, how to tell if a pigeon will be fast, and more over here.

Source: Bloomberg