19 April 2002

Farm show rules under fire

FOOT-AND-MOUTH biosecurity rules for agricultural shows are unworkable, unnecessary and will jeopardise smaller events, show organisers have warned.

Carola Godman Law, chairman of the South of England Show Council, said she was not prepared to accept DEFRAs "crazy and disproportionate rules".

"It will mean picking up dung from roadways and show rings which then have to be cleaned and disinfected before the public can use them again.

"Cattle will have to be isolated for 20 days after attending shows which will make it very hard for dairy cows to be exhibited if they subsequently cannot be milked in a parlour."

Organisers of Europes biggest rare breed show and sale, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, cancelled its National Show and Sale within days of the regulations being launched. It said it could not meet DEFRAs requirements, let alone afford to comply with them.

The Newark and Nottinghamshire County Show, one of the first shows of the year, will go on but extra costs were mounting fast. Show chief executive Adrian Johnston put the cost of extra manpower, equipment and administration at thousands of £s – a cost he said smaller shows would be unable to meet.

"These measures make it look like we still have a F&M disease problem in the UK. F&M is an airborne virus and Im open-mouthed at the silly measures that have been suggested to control it."

But Dick Sibley, former president of the British Cattle Veterinary Association, said: "Whatever happened to the mood that prevailed during the F&M crisis that we must work together to keep the disease at bay?" &#42

Everyone should take a bit more care this attitude is astonishing."