L(Luohantang): Welcome, Tomas! Is this your first time in China?
T(Thomas): Yes, this is my first time in China, I’m visiting for one week. I am enjoying this trip very much, I’m very happy and the whole week has been very nice.
L: I know that you are also a pigeon breeder,
T: Well... yes, but pigeon breeding is not our main field, our main field s are race reports, articles and online auctions.
L：What is your purpose for coming to China this time?
T：Our purpose this time is to have further face to face contact with our long-term customers and fanciers and ask for some comments and suggestions about our working result of the year. We hope that we can do more.
L：In the future running of the PIPA website, what will your main market be? Is China a main market for you?
T：Yes, China is indeed one of the biggest markets for us, some countries in Europe are also important markets, and we also see very wild markets in America and some other countries.
L: About what you just mentioned “one of the biggest markets”, which other countries have sales at the top of the sales area of PIPA?
T：I think besides China, the bigger markets are Taiwan and America. The market in North America is also very big, plus other countries in Europe, like UK, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany, these are all the bigger markets in our top sales areas.
L：Well, so what will be the perspective in the future for PIPA? What will be the developing plan?
T: Basically, online auctions are my main working task. Pigeon market reporting is not under me, because that is not my task. As to online auctions, our goal and plan is to raise the quality of the pigeons. We want to offer not only high quality European pigeons but also find high quality pigeons in a certain market locally, and then offer all the pigeon fanciers a platform where they are able to find the high quality pigeons. Therefore for us, if we keep up with this point, we will have a better development for the quality control and selection.
For example, we have a new project called “Jewels of the Sky China edition”, which is about some Chinese fanciers who import the very super pigeons from Europe, and these super pigeons cannot be copied. After they are imported to China, they are able to adjust themselves and get along very well with the surroundings in China. Then at the end of this year there is the “Jewels of the Sky China edition” and we collect the new generation from these super pigeons and put them on auction, thus in that way, other fanciers can also have a chance to select from the descendants of the super pigeons, which ones suit their lofts and then get great results in the races.
L：As I understand it: This project is specially for nurturing pigeons locally in China, by importing the very high quality foreign pigeons, after they adjust themselves to the new surroundings in China and have their own descendants.
T： You are absolutely right. Therefore this is one of our purposes for this trip to China. We come to the lofts where they have those imported super pigeons and directly carry out the quality selection. For example, there are some very super pigeons with very high quality and if this loft can offer descendnats of these pigeons, then that’s just what we are looking for to later put them on our website for auction. Therefore the policy of selection for this is exactly the same as our auctions’ policy in Europe- Quality, quality and quality.
L： Thus the quality is very important. On the other hand, the pigeons from China can be sold to foreign countries; this is possible, isn’t it? Because there are many foreign fanciers who are also interested in a certain pigeon which has been sold to the Chinese fancier, then the foreign fanciers can buy the descendants of those pigeons from China through this way.
T： But it is a pity about this issue, according to our work experience, there is possibly a very high percentage, around 95% of the super pigeons imported to the market in China, so it’s no doubt that the whole world is interested in the descendants of those super pigeons and everybody is paying close attention to them. But according to our practical experience, speaking of exporting live animals from China, this is still not possible for the moment. The main problem is the animal quarantine inspection. It is really a pity and that’s why the foreign fanciers have no chance.
L： I’m sure that there will be a solution for this problem, this conflict is just temporary.
T： According to our experience, there are many European fanciers who are very interested in the descendants of the super pigeons. If there’s no limitations in transporting, I think that there is a great demand from the European fanciers who need the pigeons to come back to Europe from China. But once again it’s a pity that there’s still difficulty in transporting.
L： Thomas is responsible for the sales marketing, right? Now that sales is buying and selling, there is naturally conflict between them buying and selling themselves, right? So how do you handle the conflict between buying and selling? For example, if the buyer is not satisfied with the pigeon which he bought and he wants to return or exchange it or has other requirements, how do you deal with that?
T： As to our hard work with great effort these last few years, we have had a great deal of good influence which is positive, correct and appropriate to our European fanciers. It is saying that there are many pigeon owners who would like to offer their super quality pigeons for our auctions on line. If there’s a customer who is not satisfied with the quality of the pigeon, for example if the pigeon is sterile, then we will be responsible for talking to the seller for a better solution. Because as you can see, if we can have an agreement with each other, you offer pigeons and if there’s a problem with the quality, then the pigeon owner would definitely cooperate with us in finding a solution. According to our working experience of these last few years, it shows that we have made great efforts in this market and tried our best to handle everything with a good result.
L： We know that PIPA is the website which has the most contact with the famous pigeons every year, you also have contact with many famous and splendid pigeons, what qualities do you think an outstanding racing pigeon needs to have?
T： That is a very interesting question. There are also many discussions over this issue between many fanciers in Europe and our country, in this case I have an answer from a pigeon master for you. I shall not mention his name here. According to him, it doesn’t matter at all how a pigeon looks. He only selects pigeons by its racing results; the racing result is the only standard for him. In our experience, there are many super pigeons with fantastic results and their looks are actually not the most super. Most of time, of course, if a super pigeon with a good racing result can also look good, then that is the ideal status. But most of time when you have to choose between these two qualities, the racing results are still our main concern! Indeed there exists no certain rule in this aspect, no, there’s no one rule. Therefore there are hundreds of ways you can achieve success. When we have interviewed a fancier, he has his theory of success, and with others, they have other theories of success. So there is really no certain rule which can be attached to it all. But here I would like to mention something, according to my own experience, an experience of having lots of interviews with the fanciers, to be a successful fancier, he has to have a complete system of nurturing, training, healthy caring and so on… There are many pigeon fanciers, when they gather the experience from others, they just adopt a part of the system to attach to their pigeons and that doesn’t work most of time. Why? Because what you need is to adopt the whole system and one which has to be suitable for your pigeons, and then this would be the key to success. Therefore you have to be very careful and pay lots of attention when you decide to adopt a system from other fanciers.
L： I think this point is very important.
This is very important, as to a certain pigeon category, for example, it needs lots of training, such as one to one and half hours training per day; and another pigeon category may need three times of training per day and 15 minutes per time. Depending on the different training races, the nutritional value of the food for pigeons would be also different. Therefore this is very important. Generally speaking, the breeders supply a certain kind of food according to the training pigeon is given. There’s no certain rule to this. Through the long-term inspecting of your certain pigeon category, you have to find out the best way for your pigeons, based on your own experience.
L： The next question is: You have interviewed so many people, according to you, what is the most important element to being a successful fancier in the races?
T： Well, We PIPA have indeed interviewed many fanciers, and I’m not sure if it’s ok if I mention Ludo Claessen. He is now no longer a pigeon breeder. He gave not only us but also many other fanciers very helpful information. He shared a very important policy of his, he said: “ you have to think like a pigeon, to think, to feel, not to think like a person but a pigeon itself.”, For example, when he visited a loft to observe the pigeons, he would ask the breeder:” Sir, where do you keep this pigeon in your loft?”, let’s say there are 16 boxes in this fancier’s loft, and if the breeder answered:” Oh, this pigeon’s box is on the top-left.”, then Ludo Claessen would just settle the pigeon in the same position in his loft. This in the hope that this pigeon can still feel home in his loft, no strange feeling, no tenseness. He is somebody who cares so much about the feeling of the pigoen, that’s also why I’m so impressed by him.