18 March 2001
Crisis threatens farm show calendar

By Jonathan Riley and Donald MacPhail

FEARS are growing that some of Britains biggest agricultural shows could be cancelled this summer because of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The Royal Show, which usually attracts about 160,000 people to its showground at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, is due to take place in July.

Mike Calvert, chief executive of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, which organises the show, rejected suggestion that the show might be called off.

But Robin Keigwin, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, confirmed that the July date for the Great Yorkshire Show is under threat.

“We are already thinking about a partial cancellation, postponement or even a total cancellation Almost every society is considering the same options.”

Time has already run out for other shows. The Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society cancelled its show on Friday (16 March).

Chief executive Adrian Johnston said: “This an extremely sad day, however, believe that we have absolutely no choice in the light of the present situation.”

A spokeswoman for Leicestershire country show, which has also been cancelled, expressed her belief that all agricultural shows should be called off.

A spokeswoman for the Surrey Show said: “Livestock is the heart of our show. Going ahead without it was unthinkable. Going ahead with it too risky.”

An official of Northumberlands Tynedale Show, due to take place in late May, said talks were continuing. But prospects were gloomy, she admitted.

Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage