DOZENS of valuable racing birds face slaughter after the council ordered members of a Barnsley pigeon fanciers' club to tear down their lofts.
The Barnsley Milers Club has been next to the beer garden at the Bridge Inn, Burton Road, Monk Bretton, for more than 16 years. But now the elderly members have been told to pull the lofts, housing about 160 birds, down within 28 days or face prosecution.
Secretary Eric Pickersgill, 74, of Chatsworth Road, Athersley South, said: "We were invited by the then pub landlord to tidy up a small piece of overgrown land to erect our lofts.
"We then approached the council for funding and met a councillor called Roy Robinson. He said we couldn't have a grant but said there would be no problem to build our own lofts.
"Keeping the birds is what we live for. What are we supposed to do with them?"
A council spokesman said: "These are standard letters the council sends out to anyone who is encroaching on council land, who doesn't have the necessary permission to use or develop on it. However, the council will consider any official approach to use its land, if considered appropriate and subject to planning permission if required."