5 July 2002

Double standard for bio-security

STRICT biosecurity measures introduced at all agricultural shows this summer were in evidence on the Stoneleigh showground this week but Lancs dairy farmers David and Sheila Tomlinson say their cows at home were not enjoying the same protection from the public.

While "cow patting" was not allowed at the Royal Show as visitors were prevented from making physical contact with exhibits, back on Mr Tomlinsons farm at Bilsborrow near Preston ramblers were being encouraged to follow a public footpath through his cubicle house.

Local press and radio announcements in Lancs have been promoting the fact that the countryside is now "open" and several organised walks were arranged last weekend to draw the publics attention to rural footpaths.

Mr and Mrs Tomlinson, whose son James was at Stoneleigh in charge of the familys Royal Show entries, said they have no objection to the public footpath that passes through the cubicle building.

"We would much rather the public went through the building than re-route the path around the farm but it does make a mockery of things when you have a situation where absolutely anyone from anywhere can make contact with your cows at home and yet at shows there are strict security measures in place," said Mr Tomlinson.

At the entrance to the cubicle house a visitors book was in place to be signed by all those who followed the path. &#42