Yes, There Really Is A Racing Pigeon Doping Scandal

No, we're not kidding.

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After Lance Armstrong’s public demise, can we ever truly be surprised about doping scandals again?

The answer to that hypothetical is yes. Yes, we can. Because the Belgian media reported Thursday that people have been drugging their racing pigeons with cocaine and painkillers to inspire better performance.

A South African lab found problems with samples from 20 birds that the Belgian pigeon racing federation sent its way. Is there no honor?

Apparently there hasn’t been in the pigeon racing circuit for a while. The Guardian reports that there have been doping scandals with Belgian pigeons since 2001. And Belgian writer George Simenon was experiementing with illicit ways to lighten racing pigeons’ loads as early as the 1920’s.

The pigeon racing industry is actually very lucrative. A Chinese businessman bought a top racing pigeon named Bolt for $430,000. (Although he ended up having to argue with customs at the airport over the bird’s actual worth.)