Foot and mouth disease has hit farm shows scheduled for this weekend, and raised fears amongst farmers who attended a major sheep sale in Oxon yesterday.

 

Over 21,000 sheep were on sale at yesterday’s Thame Sheep Fair, with gossip about a possible foot and mouth outbreak circulating. But confirmation of the Surrey case only emerged late last night, reports Chrissie Lawrence of “Taking Stock” – FWi’s on-line diary for the livestock showing sector.

 

Simon Draper, chief auctioneer at Thame and Bicester said there were still 3000 sheep on site when restrictions came into force. They were being checked by vets this morning before being allowed to move.

 

One visitor to the Thame & Bicester sale commented on-line: “It makes my blood run cold if I think about trucks, farmers, dealers not to mention 20,853 sheep from all over the UK! And I still watched people step over the disinfection baths in order not to get their dealer boots wet!”

 

Exhibitors at the Tiverton Show say they are all stranded on the showground with DEFRA officials not allowing them to load up and go home. There is talk that movement from the showground will not be permitted until at least Tuesday.

 

Other shows affected by the livestock movement ban are understood to include Oswestry, Dumfries and Turriff  in Aberdeenshire.