Animal activists call for vegan Royal Highland Show

Organisers of the Royal Highland Show have rejected suggestions by animal rights activist group Peta that the show should become a fully vegan event.

In a letter sent to the show’s chairman, Jim Warnock, the group called for an end to the “outdated cow parades, cruel sheep shearing and food that has been cut or expelled from an animal’s body,” demanding instead that the flagship agricultural event be rebranded as the plant-based “Royal Highland Grow”.

See also: Liberal Democrat-led Oxford City Council goes vegan

To replace these traditional features of the event, the organisation has suggested a vegan haggis eating competition, a turnip beauty pageant and potato sculpting.

Peta spokesperson Dawn Carr said: “This change would support the UK’s arable and horticultural farmers and help protect the environment.

“We all know that raising and killing animals for food is not in their best interests and that it’s an environmental disaster.”


But Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland chief executive Alan Laidlaw said the organisers disagreed with Peta’s “misrepresentation” of the show, including labelling sheep shearing as “cruel”.

“This reflects a lack of understanding of what is required for good animal health and wellbeing, and the importance of Scottish agriculture,” he said. 

“I can only assume that this is to grab media attention. However, while most will see through this for what it is, it has the potential to further undermine our proud agricultural sector and our farmers who work 24/7 to feed our nation with a wide choice of fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat for the many millions who choose to make that part of their diet.” 

The show, which first began in 1822, now attracts about 200,000 visitors annually, and contributes £39.5m to the Scottish economy.

It showcases the best of Scottish agriculture, including the traditional showing of cattle, sheep, goats and heavy horses. 

This year the show will take place on 22-25 June 2023.