29 October 1999

Caterers cant be dictated to

DEMANDS that caterers at one of Britains biggest agricultural shows should be forced to sell only British meat have been described as ridiculous.

Organisers of the Great Yorkshire Show reacted angrily to the request and also to claims that they were not supporting British farmers.

John Cobbald, who keeps 500 sows at Harewood, near Leeds, wrote to the show society earlier this year seeking assurances that only British meat would be used at the show and year-round by caterers at the showgrounds Pavilions of Harrogate conference and entertainment complex.

But Robin Keigwin, the shows chief executive, said such a demand was "neither reasonable or enforceable. We can request and persuade our caterers to use British-sourced meat, but what they use is their commercial decision." Anyone who attended this years show would have seen a wonderful showcase for British agriculture, said Mr Keigwin. In addition, five out of eight pages in a newsletter sent to all members this week contained articles promoting British meat. "If that is supporting the meat industry I do not know what is," he said.

Richard Cobbald, Johns father, was unconvinced. "Shows are supposed to be run by farmers, for farmers, and their purchasing policies should reflect that support," he said. "How many other societies are doing the same ?" &#42