6 March 2001
Lingfield race plans spark protests

By FWi staff

RACING officials are to meet farmers leaders who have condemned a decision to resume horseracing in areas unaffected by foot-and-mouth disease.

Racing will recommence at Lingfield, Surrey, on Wednesday (7 March) following the end of a seven-day suspension because of foot-and-mouth disease.

The Jockey Club and British Horseracing Board drew up guidelines in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture so racing could be restart.

But the NFU condemned the move, even though a veterinary assessment of the guidelines was carried out by the State Veterinary Service.

NFU president Ben Gill appealed to the horseracing community not to resume racing, saying it would risk spreading foot-and-mouth disease.

Even small risks must be avoided in the fight against the disease, said Mr Gill.

He added: “There are many steeplechasers that are kept on farms with other livestock, and these will leave farms and return.”

Mr Gill also reiterated his appeal to all farmers and rural dwellers to stay away from major sporting and other public events.

“I cannot believe that anyone in the horseracing community would want to be involved in a long-running foot-and-mouth saga in the British countryside.

He said: “We would ask everyone in the rural community to please think twice before attending any event where there are large crowds of people.”

A spokeswoman for the British Horseracing Board said the situation would be discussed with the National Farmers Union late on Tuesday (6 February).

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